Since it is our first time visiting Chiang Mai, hubs and I are always on the lookout for the best local food spots to try. And that was when we came by Nai To Congee Shop. The restaurant is conveniently located just a 10-minute walk from our apartment in Chiang Mai. We had read great things about their congee on Google and were excited to try it out. But sadly, it was no longer available when we arrived! (╥_╥) Keep reading to find out what we ate as an alternative and why I highly recommend visiting Nai To Congee Shop during your time in Chiang Mai. ( ˘▽˘)っ

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It was our first morning at The Astra Condo and we had such a good night’s sleep that we were ready to explore more of Chiang Mai Old City. But before that, we were excitedly looking forward to having our breakfast at Nai To Congee Shop since it would be our first time having congee in Thailand! \(★ω★)/

When we reached the restaurant at around 9 AM, it was already bustling with people! Most of the tables were already taken except for one. I see why so many avoid this table as it was smacked right in the middle of the compound. I felt pretty awkward sitting there since we were surrounded by all the tables. Haha! It doesn’t help that we felt so out of place as everyone looks like local dining here. (*/ω\)

Signage at front entrance showing the recommended menu items and a view of the layout of Nai To Congee Shop from the entrance

No Congee Anymore?! Σ(O_O)

Nai To Congee Shop specialises in serving traditional Thai breakfast dishes, particularly congee. We chose to have our breakfast here as we had not tried congee in Thailand before. But sadly, they ran out of congee by the time we were there. And this was only after 2 hours of their opening! (ノД`) I highly think that they might be preparing another batch of congee in the meantime. But it is just sad that we did not manage to have our first congee experience in Thailand. (´-ω-`)

Menu of Nai To Congee Shop, a view of the ordering counter and some decorations outside the restaurant

I was caught off guard by this situation and ended up choosing the most common food in Thailand, pad krapow. Haha! (´・ᴗ・ ` ) Hubs, as usual, decided to order something unique called pan egg (Kai Grata ไข่กระทะ), which is a popular street food in Thailand.

Everything is Self-Service Here!

As I mentioned, we felt so out of place as the restaurant seemed to be popular with locals. We felt like we were the only foreigners here. Haha! Ordering was done at the main counter nearest to the entrance. The lady at the order station could converse in English so it was easy for hubs to make the order. Since everything is self-service here, hubs and I were worried that we could not catch the staff calling out our order for collection. (・_・;)

A view of the ordering counter as well as a Self-Service sign informing customers that Nai To Congee Shop practices self-service

There are a total of three counters in the restaurant, one for drinks, one for noodles and lastly, the main counter which also serves all other dishes besides noodles. After hubs ordered our food, both of us kept watching the drinks counter to see if something similar to our order would appear on the counter. Haha! Since our food was prepared at the main counter, the same lady called our hubs’ name so that was easy for us. Phew. But if you ordered noodles, remember to look out for your food at the noodles counter! (´• ω •`)

Showing the three counters in Nai To Congee Shop, one for drinks, one for noodles and the main ordering counter

Review of Our Food at Nai To Congee Shop

Besides ordering our main dish, a morning would not be complete without some coffee. So we ordered one hot and one cold Thai-style coffee. The hot coffee tasted similar to our kopi (coffee with milk) found in Singapore’s hawker centres or kopitiam. But I love the iced coffee. There is just something about the taste that I can’t help loving it. I ended up drinking most of it. Haha! ( ´ ω ` )

A Local Breakfast Experience

The pan egg was rather interesting since it was our first time trying it in Thailand. The dish is made up of two sunny-side-ups on a metal pan and ingredients such as sausage, lap cheong and minced meat were put on top of it. It is a rather simple dish and looks like comfort food for the locals. Based on Google, this dish is supposed to be a popular street breakfast in north/northeast Thailand so if you are in this part of Thailand, you might want to keep a lookout for it! (´• ω •`)

Food that we ordered at Nai To Congee Shop - pan egg, hot & cold Thai-style coffee and pad krapow

Mine was the good old pad krapow. To be honest, I was a bit sad that we could not have congee since that was the main reason we came to this restaurant. And having pad krapow for breakfast just seemed so off to me. (´-ω-`) But all these thoughts went away when I took my first bite of the pad krapow. IT WAS AMAZING! w(°o°)w The minced meat is full of umami and the spice level was just right, not too much but still spicy enough to give a bit of heat. The egg was soft-boiled and the best way to eat it is to poke right into the egg yolk! Mixing the minced meat and rice with the gooey egg yolk gave it an extra creamy flavour. Every mouthful was a delight and I absolutely would love to have a second portion. Haha! (❤ω❤)

Things Worth Mentioning

Returning of Crockery & Cutlery

When I said this restaurant practised self-service, it does not stop at just the ordering and collection. Over here at Nai To Congee Shop, you would also have to return your crockery and cutlery by yourself. Since our table was just right in front of the return station, we were observing what everyone was doing. The return station is not just a simple tray return station. There are basins placed at the station, each having a photo label on it. You would have to sort out your plates, pans, cups and cutlery and place them in the correct basins for return. Once a basin is full, a staff would replace it with an empty one.

The return station at Nai To Congee Shop and some more decorative items at the counter

I must say I was quite impressed with this system as this probably helped to free up manpower to clear the table, allowing for faster turnover since there are constantly people coming into the restaurant. Tray return is something so basic yet I think takes time to get people to do it. Sometimes I think it’s so weird that people overseas can do it so well but in Singapore, we still need law enforcement and whatnot to get people to do it. We have such a long way to being better. (´・ᴗ・ ` )

Extra Seating at the Side of the Restaurant

As tourists, sometimes it is easy to miss something since we might be too overwhelmed with what’s in front of us. When we arrived at Nai To Congee Shop, I think we were overwhelmed by the crowd. In a bid to try to find ourselves a seat, we did not notice there were more seats at another section of the restaurant that was kind of hidden from sight. This was located just on the right side of the main counter! I only noticed this area when we were taking some photos of the restaurant after our meal. So don’t say I never share! (✧ω✧)

Showing the extra seating space of Nai To Congee Shop that might be hidden from view from the front entrance

Overall Experience at Nai To Congee Shop

I highly recommend coming to Nai To Congee Shop for their great breakfast options. There is a lot of food on its menu but there is only so much we can try. Given the chance, we would want to come back again for its congee! But I would also be sure to order the pad krapow again as well! (っ˘ڡ˘ς)

The front entrance of Nai To Congee Shop and its main shop signage

Information about Nai To Congee Shop

NAI TO CONGEE SHOP

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

🔎 You can find out more about Nai To Congee Shop on Facebook HERE

As we were walking back to our apartment, we came by a canal. I didn’t think much of it but since seeing a lot of people walking along the canal, it kind of piqued our interest. And then it hit me that this place might be the latest Japanese-style canal that I saw on Go Went Go’s YouTube channel. The Mae Kha Canal was used for trade and commerce in the past in Chiang Mai and was re-developed into a tourist attraction in the late-2022. A lot of articles and videos also said that the vibe of the canal resembles that of the Otaru Canal. Having been to Otaru and the Otaru Canal ourselves, it does feel a bit like it when we were walking along the Mae Kha Canal. Just that little bit. Haha! (´・ᴗ・ ` )

A sign in front of the Mae Kha Canal and a view of the canal from the front

There are a lot of Japanese-themed restaurants and cafes lining the sides of the canal. There are also a lot of Instagram-worthy street art and decorations adorning the canal’s wall. I can see why this place would attract a lot of people as the atmosphere is just so inviting and pleasant.

One of the Japanese-themed restaurants lining the Mae Kha Canal as well as some decorations and wall art along the canal

The main attraction of the place was the yellow bridge bridging the two sides of the canal. A lot of people were trying to take photos on and around it. We ended up just taking a random wefie beside the bridge as there were just too many people taking their photos on the bridge. (*/ω\)

A yellow bridge bridging the two sides of the Mae Kha Canal and the little flowers found along the canal

Is It Worth It to Visit?

Most of the restaurants and cafes were closed when we were there. I assumed they would be open for lunch/dinner time. If you want to take a short walk after breakfast at Nai To Congee Shop, I do recommend coming over to have a look. But if you are not in the area, I don’t think it is worth it coming all the way here. There are just a lot more interesting things you can see in Chiang Mai.

One of the shops found along the sides of the Mae Kha Canal and a beautiful pink flower found along the canal

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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 cards to bring overseas—the Trust Bank and YouTrip cards!

A Guide to Using Your Multicurrency Cards for Overseas Cash Withdrawal
Feeling stressed about using foreign ATMs? Let me help you navigate overseas ATMs with ease as I share my experience using my Trust Bank and YouTrip cards for overseas cash withdrawals—examples included!

Transform Your Travel with Lounge Access + Cards I Use to Get Free Visits!
Ready to ditch airport stress? Visit my post to discover the magic of lounge access and my go-to credit cards for complimentary lounge visits!

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!

Feeling hungry and in need of some great food options? No worries, I’ve got you covered with my handpicked list of restaurants in Chiang Mai Old City, and there are even some convenient GrabFood choices! Plus, with countless temples to explore, I’ve also narrowed down some must-visit temples in Chiang Mai for you to enjoy!

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 food-related articles that could catch your eye. ( *ˊᵕˋ* )⸝


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