13 Must-Try Food Spots Around Chiang Mai Old City

Written by Katherine

June 14, 2023
Last Updated on March 5, 2024

Going to Chiang Mai for the first time and overwhelmed by the number of food options there? The same goes for us last November when we flew to Chiang Mai for the first time! I have put together this post consisting of the restaurants, cafes and night markets that we have visited so that you know which to go to. Among the list, there are some popular restaurants, but there are also some hidden gems as well. So sit back, and let’s dive in to check out the 13 must-try food spots around Chiang Mai Old City! (@´ー`)ノ゙

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Why Focus on Food around Chiang Mai Old City?

It was our first trip to Chiang Mai, and the Old City is a highly recommended zone to be in for first-timers due to its central location and access to a lot of things in the area. Hence we chose our accommodation to be within or near the Chiang Mai Old City. And that is how my food options ended up being around the Old City. ( ´ ω ` )

Chiang Mai Old City’s Breakfast Food Options

1. Nai To Congee Shop

Nai To Congee Shop is known for its congee and that was what we were looking forward to having. But sadly, it was not available when we were there. Luckily, the restaurant is also known for other traditional Thai breakfast dishes and the meal turned out to be the best breakfast that we had in Chiang Mai! ╰(*´︶`*)╯

The main counter and pad krapow, one of the breakfast food, at Nai To Congee Shop in Chiang Mai

We saw mainly Thais having their breakfast there so it should be a place that is popular with locals. If you don’t want to miss out on trying its congee, better make sure that you get there early!

📌 For more details, head over HERE where I share our experience dining at this lovely restaurant! (´• ω •`)

🍴 ABOUT THE RESTAURANT

⏰ Opening Hours: 7 AM – 2 PM (Mon – Sat), Closed on Sundays
☎️ Phone Number: +66 63 796 4191

2. Hua Seng Hong Dim Sum

We were looking for breakfast options near our condominium and came by Toey Dim Sum, a dim sum place that is also popular with locals. We planned to visit it on our last day in Chiang Mai but our lazy asses preferred to just chill until check-out. So we decided to opt for GrabFood instead. Sadly Toey Dim Sum was not available for delivery so we ordered from another dim sum shop called Hua Seng Hong Dim Sum.

The dim sum food items, fried carrot cakes & siew mai, that we ordered from Hua Seng Hong Dim Sum in Chiang Mai

The food from Hua Seng Hong Dim Sum tasted quite good, especially the fried carrot cake with its crispy surface. I was craving kanom jeeb, having tried it at the night market the night before. Sadly, the kanom jeeb tasted more like the siew mai we had at a Chinese restaurant. I mean that’s all good but I was hoping to have the Thailand version instead. (´・ᴗ・ ` ) Anyway, if you are craving some dim sums, Hua Seng Hong Dim Sum was not too bad. Alternatively, you can give Toey Dim Sum a try! (*´▽`*)

🍴 ABOUT THE RESTAURANT

⏰ Opening Hours: 7 AM – 8 PM (Mon – Thurs), 7 AM – 9 PM (Fri – Sun)
☎️ Phone Number: +66 65 728 9289
🔎 Website: Link HERE

Northern Thailand Food You MUST Try in Chiang Mai

3. Nam Ngiaw Loong Pong

Out of all the Northern Thailand food, I felt like kanom jeen is not talked about a lot. After a bit of research, we decided to check out this place called Nam Ngiaw Loong Pong, which is known for its kanom jeen nam ngiaw. Kanom jeen means rice noodles. At Nam Ngiaw Loong Pong, they serve kanom jeen nam ngiaw, which is rice noodles in spice and sour broth.

The elderly couple managing Nam Ngiaw Loong Pong as well as the kanom jeen nam ngiaw we ordered, an authentic Northern Thailand food in Chiang Mai

Let’s just say kanom jeen nam ngiaw is an acquired taste so you may or may not like it. As someone who has tried it before, I highly recommend giving this dish a try when in Chiang Mai.

📌 If you are curious to know about our experience, check out my blog post HERE for more details! (´• ω •`)ノ

🍴 ABOUT THE RESTAURANT

⏰ Opening Hours: 9 AM – 3 PM

4. Khao Soi Maesai

A trip to Chiang Mai is not complete without having khao soi. So we shortlisted both Khao Soi Khun Yai and Khao Soi Maesai and were devasted when the former was not opened. (´-ω-`) Luckily Khao Soi Maesai was opened and served us one of the best khao soi that we had in Chiang Mai! (´ ε ` )♡

The crowd outside Khao Soi Maesai as well as the khao soi gai that we ordered

Khao Soi Maesai is featured in the Michelin Guide so DO NOT be surprised to see a large crowd outside the restaurant. People have mentioned in their reviews on Google that they have avoided the crowd during off-peak hours. So this might be something to consider.

📌 The restaurant has a confusing queuing system and I included some tips in my blog post on how to navigate the system. All the details can be found in the post HERE! (*´▽`*)

🍴 ABOUT THE RESTAURANT

⏰ Opening Hours: 8 AM – 4 PM (Closed on Sundays)
☎️ Phone Number: +66 53 213 284

5. Khao Soi Lung Prakit Kad Kom

As I mentioned, Khao Soi Khun Yai was closed so both hubs and I were kind of sad that we could not have khao soi on our first day in Chiang Mai. While hanging out in our condominium, we came across a video from Go Went Go introducing hotels and food in Chiang Mai. Besides Khao Soi Maesai, he also went to another place called Khao Soi Lung Prakit Kad Kom. Hubs searched on Grab and saw that they can deliver to our condominium so we decided to order their khao soi to try!

The khao soi gai that we ordered from Khao Soi Lung Prakit Kad Kom, another khao soi restaurant in Chiang Mai

In comparison to Khao Soi Maesai, the broth from Khao Soi Lung Prakit Kad Kom was spicier, maybe a bit too spicy for us. However, the chicken drumstick was quite soft and tender. Considering that this was delivered to us, we might have to discount the taste a bit. But overall, I think we still prefer the one we had at Khao Soi Maesai. If you are on a khao soi journey, you can consider going to the restaurant to try it out! (o˘◡˘o)

🍴 ABOUT THE RESTAURANT

⏰ Opening Hours: 9.30 AM – 4.30 PM
☎️ Phone Number: +66 83 209 9441

6. Moo Ping Khun Por

Another thing you must try when in Chiang Mai is the Northern Thailand sausage, also known as sai ua. While looking around for a recommended place, I came by Moo Ping Khun Por. We did not visit the stall but decided to order through GrabFood instead. (´・ᴗ・ ` ) The stall seemed to be opened mainly for breakfast and you can order the preferred protein with sticky rice. We decided to get sai ua, grilled chicken and grilled pork with sticky rice to try.

Food that we got from Moo Ping Khun Por and the Northern Thailand sausage with sticky rice in one of the pack.

Our favourite protein was the grilled pork. But the truth is, the sticky rice was the star. Haha! I love Thailand’s sticky rice because they all taste so good! (っ˘ڡ˘ς) Anyway, sai ua is made of a variety of ingredients in the sausage and has a unique taste. It tasted okay but I still prefer a plain sausage. Since the stall is located in Nimman, you can consider checking it out for breakfast or an early lunch! (*´▽`*)

🍴 ABOUT THE RESTAURANT

⏰ Opening Hours: 6.30 AM – 1.30 PM
☎️ Phone Number: +66 65 629 4664

Cafes & Western Restaurant for Work & Chill

My Secret Cafe was a lucky find after we realised Khao Soi Khun Yai was closed. We were wandering around hoping to find a place to have our lunch before deciding to check out the small alley where we found My Secret Cafe. Even though it’s called My Secret Cafe, the cafe does not seem to be that much of a secret after all. (¬‿¬ ) 90% of the people in there were digital nomads so it can be assumed that the place has great Wi-Fi, good food and is comfortable to work in.

The exterior and signage of My Secret Cafe in Chiang Mai Old City, the coffee we had and a staff behind the counter looking at my camera.

📌 If you are in the area and want to find a place to chill, surf some net and have a bite, consider dropping by this lovely cafe! I shared about our experience at this cafe HERE so head over to read about it! (~˘▽˘)~

☕️ ABOUT THE CAFE

⏰ Opening Hours: 8.30 AM – 8 PM (Wed – Mon), 8.30 AM – 10 PM (Tues)
☎️ Phone Number: +66 81 499 9911

8. TYME Coffee

Initially, we wanted to visit Cafe Amazon after seeing the Three Kings Monument, but it was full. With digital nomads. It seems like it is a trend here in Chiang Mai where cafes are usually full of digital nomads. So we walked back across the street and saw TYME Coffee. Interestingly, it was not as crowded though the more comfortable seats at the back were mostly taken. But still, we could find empty tables so we could chill in there.

A staff at TYME Coffee preparing our drinks behind the counter and the exterior of the cafe at Chiang Mai Old City, just beside Three Kings Monument

Having seen so many people drinking Orange Americano on YouTube, hubs and I decided to be adventurous and ordered one to try. Well… Let’s just say we prefer the good old Americano over this. Haha! It sure is an acquired taste. (´・ᴗ・ ` ) If you are visiting the Three Kings Monument and want to find a place to chill and relax after a day out in Chiang Mai’s heat, consider dropping by this lovely cafe that is just right beside the monument! (´。• ᵕ •。`)

☕️ ABOUT THE CAFE

⏰ Opening Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM
☎️ Phone Number: +66 92 284 2899
🔎 Facebook: Link HERE

9. Choei Cafe & Bistro

Choei Cafe & Bistro is just along the street where The Astra Condo is located. Since our check-out time of our Airbnb was at 11 AM and there was still quite some time before our flight to Bangkok, we needed a place to chill. We were initially hanging out at the condominium’s lobby but with no air-conditioning, the lobby started to get too hot for us to hang out. So we walked down the street and found the cafe.

The interior decorations of Choei Cafe & Bistro and the Deep Fried Lay Chicken & Home Fries with Wasabi Mayo Sauce dish that I like from the cafe, located just beside The Astra Condo in Chiang Mai

We grabbed some light bites to eat at the cafe and I must say the food was actually quite good. My favourite was the Deep Fried Lay Chicken & Home Fries with Wasabi Mayo Sauce. The presentation for this dish was unexpectedly nice too. ( ´ ω ` ) Wi-Fi is free in the cafe as well so it is definitely a nice place to chill and work here. The cafe is rather quiet compared to a lot of other cafes we came by in the Old City. So if you are in or near the area, you can consider dropping by! (´• ω •`)ノ

☕️ ABOUT THE CAFE

⏰ Opening Hours: 9 AM – 8 PM
☎️ Phone Number: +66 98 149 5900
🔎 Facebook: Link HERE

10. Butter is Better Restaurant

Butter is Better Restaurant is located on the same street as Choei Cafe & Bistro. Having tried a lot of Thai dishes in Chiang Mai, hubs and I decided to visit this restaurant to have a break from the local cuisine. If you are used to having smaller food portions in Thailand, be prepared to have so much food that you can’t finish it at Butter is Better! We loved what we ordered and since the food portion was so big, we had to ask the staff to do takeaways for our leftover food. (´・ᴗ・ ` )

The interior of Butter is Better Restaurant and the delicious sandwich that I had at the restaurant, located just beside The Astra Condo in Chiang Mai

📌 If you got tired of having Thai food in Chiang Mai, why not drop by Butter is Better for a different kind of cuisine? For more details of our dining experience at this restaurant, check it out HERE! ( ´ ▽ ` )

🍴 ABOUT THE RESTAURANT

⏰ Opening Hours: 8 AM – 4.30 PM (Mon – Sat), 8 AM – 5 PM (Sun), Closed on Tuesdays
☎️ Phone Number: +66 53 820 761

Famous Night Markets in the Old City

Since we were flying to Bangkok on a Sunday, we, unfortunately, did not get to visit the Sunday Night Market. Below are the ones that we have been to for your reference! (@´ー`)ノ゙

11. Chiang Mai Gate Market

Chiang Mai Gate Market is the first night market that we went to in Chiang Mai. The market is divided into two sections, with a road running between these two sections. One side of the market has stalls selling street food while the other side has stalls with tables and chairs set up for dine-in.

To be really honest, there wasn’t anything much that captured our attention. The street food stalls were kind of average and we did not feel like sitting down to have a meal. Granted I was feeling crappy after walking a lot that day so I was not feeling it when we visited the market. (´-ω-`) We went there on a Friday and the crowd was quite okay. Since it seems like this market is set up every day, on the Saturday that we visited the Saturday Market, there were a lot of people sitting down to have their meals there. So if you want to check out Chiang Mai Gate Market, probably good to drop by on a weekday or just come earlier on a weekend! (≧◡≦)

🥤 ABOUT THE NIGHT MARKET

⏰ Opening Hours: 4 PM – 2 AM

12. Chang Phuak Gate Night Market

Hubs’ colleague is a regular traveller to Chiang Mai and he mentioned to hubs that there is a famous Khao Kha Moo (pork leg rice) stall, called Chang Phueak Pork Leg Rice, that he always visits whenever he is in the city. We dropped by during the daytime to check out the stall, only to realise that it was only open in the evening. 。・゚・(ノД`) Since nothing interests us at Chiang Mai Gate Market, we decided to be crazy and walked all the way to Chang Phuak Gate Market to get the khao kha moo,

Lady preparing the food at Chang Phueak Pork Leg Rice stall, a famous stall at Chang Phuak Gate Night Market and a box of the khao kha moo we got from the stall

When we reached there, the vibe was totally different from when we visited in the daytime. So many stalls were set up at night and there were so many people sitting down to have their meals there. The night market was bustling with people and many were queuing around. The queues were long at Chang Phueak Pork Leg Rice but there was an extremely long queue at another stall called Chang Phuak Suki. Apparently, this is a legendary suki stall and the line is always long. We were not in the mood for sit-down meals or queuing too much so we bought the khao kha moo and headed back to our condominium. (*/ω\)

I personally prefer the vibe here at Chang Phuak Gate Night Market to the Chiang Mai Night Market and would highly recommend that you come to visit this night market. (´• ω •`)

🥤 ABOUT THE NIGHT MARKET

⏰ Opening Hours: 5 PM – 12 AM

13. Saturday Market (Wua Lai Walking Street)

This night market is HUGE and it is never-ending. (´• ω •`) Even though the street is rather wide to walk comfortably, at certain parts of the night market, it can get a bit crowded that it felt too much for us. This was especially true at parts of the market where there are a cluster of food stalls and seats for people to sit down to have a meal. We walked into one of them and immediately walked out ‘cos it was too much to handle. (ノД`)

The Khao Jee stall we got our food from at the Saturday Market and a view of the crowd in the market

Besides food stalls, there are also a lot of stalls selling clothes and crafts work. There were also a lot of performers singing in the middle of the path. Interestingly, we saw a lot of female students performing so hubs and I made it a point to donate to them whenever we passed by one, hoping that the money would help them out in one way or another. ( ´ ω ` )

Two of my favourites from the Saturday Market, Khao Jee and Kanom Jeen and another view of the crowd in the market

Personally, I like the vibe of this market. It is similar to the night markets we see in Taiwan and we love Taiwan’s night markets. ( ´ ω ` ) Anyway, out of all the things we have tried, my personal favourites were Khao Jee (sticky rice with egg) and Kanom Jeen (siew mai). I love sticky rice and the khao jee was such a good snack to munch on while walking the street. The kanom jeen we had here were also the best ones among the ones we tried in Thailand. (*´▽`*)

🥤 ABOUT THE NIGHT MARKET

⏰ Opening Hours: 5 PM – 11 PM

Final Thoughts on the Food Spots in Chiang Mai

I hope that the 13 food spots I have recommended will be a good guide for you when you visit Chiang Mai or stay in/around the Old City. As you can see, we actually used GrabFood a lot during our stay in Chiang Mai. While we were hanging out in the condominium lobby, we also noticed a lot of people coming down to get their food delivered. So if it is not too troublesome, it would be good to have the Grab app installed on your phone. This is especially good if you are travelling around SouthEast Asia where the Grab app is one of the most commonly used applications for food and private car hire.

For those food spots where I did not have a dedicated blog post, I have shared the photos taken in the Photo Gallery below so feel free to check them out! I hope you have a great food journey in Chiang Mai! (´• ω •`)ノ

Spread the Love!

Loved what you just read? Think your friends or family would enjoy it too? Hit your favourite share button below, and let’s make good vibes travel! Your support is greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch for being awesome! (´• ω •`) ♡

Useful Travel Resources

Pack your wanderlust, and let’s set sail! I have prepared the following travel resources that you might find helpful to fuel your next adventure. This section will be ever-growing, and if you think there is anything that you want me to add to this list, drop me a message to let me know! ⸜( *ˊᵕˋ* )⸝

💰 BEST Cards to Use for Your Overseas Spending

Want to enjoy seamless spending overseas without the pesky fees? Check out my post on the best card to bring overseas – the Trust Bank and YouTrip cards!

🥶 Tips on Packing for 10 – 20 Degrees Celsius Weather

Winter packing woes got you stressed? My guide will turn your “Gaaaah!” into a smooth vacay in 10 to 20 degrees Celsius weather!

With countless temples to explore, I’ve also narrowed down some must-visit temples in Chiang Mai for you to enjoy! And if you’re on the lookout for a fantastic place to stay, I’d highly suggest considering either The Astra Condo or The Inside House. Alternatively, you can also explore some more Chiang Mai-related articles that could catch your eye. ( *ˊᵕˋ* )⸝

Let’s Connect!

If email isn’t your cup of tea, you’re welcome to stay in touch through my social media channels! I have the latest posts and updates on Facebook and weekly photos on Instagram. Now and then, I drop by IG with travel stories, too! So, feel free to say hello and connect!

If you prefer a more direct line, you can always reach out through this contact form. I’m excited to connect with you! Thanks for visiting! (´ ε ` )♡

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