Of course, one post about Chiang Mai eats is never enough.I've posted previously about some of my favourite places we ate in during our time in Chiang Mai, focusing on brunch and lunch-time eats. This was often when we ate Western food - sometimes noodles and rice is just too much to stomach in forty degree heat! You can find my post here. This time, I want to share with you some of our best finds for when you want something truly Thai, or somewhere special but affordable to eat in Chiang Mai.
As I said in my last post, this is by no means an 'ultimate guide' to CM's eateries, but after spending around two weeks in Thailand's northern capital we feel we were able to find some real must-visits. In fact, we did visit some of these restaurants more than once - even with the huge amount of choice in CM, we couldn't resist going back for more.
I had to start with this one; affordable, proper restaurant food in a beautiful setting. Situated just inside the west-side of the Old City, this is the place to go if you fancy good food at a really reasonable price... and the wine isn't bad by Thai standards! We ate here a couple of times and tried the goats cheese salad, pork in blueberry sauce (incredible), duck and prunes (also delicious), seafood, Thai curries and steak - they were all pretty much spot on. Throw in an excellent chocolate mousse and a rich, creamy creme brulee, and you've got me hook, line and sinker! Tip: book a table up front to beat the crowds - this place gets busy. (Facebook page)
Dash Teak House
Undoubtedly my favourite restaurant in Chiang Mai - this place serves up the best north Thai cuisine. The traditional Lanna style building, good drinks menu and rock-bottom prices meant we came back here several times, and each time left more impressed! Some of our favourite dishes were khao soi - a chicken curry noodle soup, local to the area and most definitely the best we tried. Moo palo - a fusion dish (Thai/Chinese) of melt-in-the-mouth pork in a sweet barbecue sauce served with roti... a literal taste sensation! And finally tamarind chicken - soft chicken in a crispy shell. We paid around £3 (April 2016) a dish here, and were blown away. Again, we booked in advance to reserve a table. We brought some new friends here during our second stint in the city, and they too were suitably impressed. (Website)
Ginger and Kafe
A bit of a hidden gem - in the north-east corner of the Old City, we discovered this place when trying to escape Songkran (Thai new year) madness. Nestled in amongst The House by Ginger, there are a couple of more-than-tempting shops selling home wares and fashion as well as two restaurants serving Western and Thai food. Do you know what, it's lucky I was constrained by my backpack or I would have bought half the shop to bring home with me! The quirky interiors make you question if you're really in Thailand - it's feels so upmarket in comparison with other restaurants. We tried a mix of Thai and Western food; the mixed appetiser platter is a great way of tasting local eats including prawn spring rolls, crispy morning glory and meang kham - a traditional Thai snack served in cha-pu leaves. The tom kha gai was really tasty (if a little hotter than usual), as was the red duck curry. A little more pricey than other options, but definitely worth a visit. (Website)
Located a couple of kilometres north-east out of the Old City, alongside the river, Paak Dang feels like a little jungle sanctuary outside of hectic CM. And this is a restaurant with a difference; they employ the 'less privileged' from neighbouring hill tribes and villages, teaching them English and Mandarin, as well as providing a whole load of support and training such as business skills and financial planning. And they do Thai food well. I absolutely loved the seua rong hai (Tiger's Cry) - a sliced thai-spiced marinated beef fillet, cooked to perfection and completely melt in the mouth. The duck curry has the delicious addition of lychees, and the seafood is fresh and perfectly flavoursome. (Website)