Do not let its plain outer facade fool you. Gia Tong Heng is the oldest and most established Chinese restaurant in Chiang Mai, and for a good reason too - it's food is delicious and affordable.
The restaurant is split into 2 sections, with the more upmarket ambience and comfortably air-conditioned area situated deep within from the front entrance shown.
All the classic Chinese dishes are available and even Thai favourites such as Tom Yam Seafood Soup.
Prices are of course somewhat more expensive than street fares, but still very reasonable. A very good meal can be had for about 400 baht per person.
Favorite Dish: Both the hot and cold hor'dourves, which include a selection of their most popular appetizers makes a good prelude to a delicious meal.
I was crazy over this stuff in Krabi and was dissapointed that I could not find it in Bangkok. But I was certainly ecstatic to find it being sold in Chiang Mai from a pushcart street vendor, who had situtated himself opposite the Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel where I was staying one day.
Some street vendors call it "Roti" and some others call it "Rotee". But regardless what they call it, it is basically a freshly cooked thin pancake made from a mixture of wheat and rice flour which is used to wrap ingredients such as chopped bananas, and/or topped with other ingredients like chocolate sauce. A simple, but sinfully delicious delight.
Favorite Dish: My personal favourite is the Banana with Chocolate Sauce Roti.
As the hot springs in Chiang Mai has waters that can go up to 90C, boiling eggs and then eating them is a very popular activity among its visitors.
The eggs are sold at the ticket office and so you do not need to buy them beforehand. They are rather cheap too at 20 baht for 5 chicken eggs, or a lot of quails eggs.
To cook the eggs, basically to just hang the baskets on the hooks that are lined along the pool of hot spring water and then wait. Unless you do not mind a "messy' finish, I recommend cooking the eggs for a full 8 minutes for well-done eggs.
Favorite Dish: The eggs which are cooked in hot springs somehow just taste better. They look somewhat different too, as the whites are more translucent than opaque.
Prem Restaurant is situated within the Vhiang Ping Cultural Market, at part of the night bazaar known as "The Peak" (named so due to the urban rock climbing facilities offered here).
Maybe it was due to the low season (month of May), but this area, unlike the rest of the night bazaar, was uncharacteristically uncrowded, which was why we decided to eat here in the first place.
As a little bonus, there the restaurant was near a small stage in which small cultural performances were given nightly. The performance ranges from traditional dance segments to stage shows by either drag queens (or transexuals, I really cannot tell... But it was interesting enough to make my friend and I watch the Simon Caberet the next evening).
Favorite Dish: What Prem Restaurant offers is fresh seafood prepared in any manner you like. My buddy, Woon, and I chose to have our fish and prawns served barbequed with garlic and they were fantastic! Unlike other similar restaurants I had been to in Thailand, the fish was not wrapped in foil during the barbeque process and thus, there was that extra smokey taste which I really like.
On drawback is that given it's location and somewhat lack of ambience, it is considered rather expensive at about 500 baht (>US$12) per person.
When you visit the many street stalls in Chiang Mai, you may find many of the stalls dedicated to selling what looks like a heap of deep fried intestines of some sort.
I was initially puzzled by what they were, but after checking with my tour guide, I found out that they are called "Kaeb Moo", or crispy pork rind. It is often served as an appetizer and eatern with sticky rice.
The health concious may want to give this a miss, as Kaeb Moo is actually made from either pork skin or triple pork, fried with salt, clove, garlic, and crushed whole coriander stalks. As you may have guessed, it is not exactly a healthy snack.
But if you can get passed that, it is actually quite delicious. Most stall holders will also be more than happy to give you a taste sample.
This beautiful restaurant took us ages to find as it was tucked away behind the camera shop on Chaiyapoom Road, near the giant cheesburger and the big Amora Hotel. The staff were superfriendly (and pretty), they even have biting puppies and a bird-cage. Home was set in an old Thai teak house surrounded by a beautiful garden. The music was perfect and relaxing and we ate nearly every meal there. It appears to be the current in-place for travellers to hang out, but there were plenty of locals and expats dining at each of our visits.
Favorite Dish: Everything was great here, they have plenty of vegetarian and Northern Thai food. I especially liked the red-curries but my husband seemed happier with Singha beer and chicken sandwiches! We ate breakfast here, took coffee in the afternoons, and filled our bellies at night. Home wasn't even near to our guesthouse but it was the best place we found in six weeks in Chiang Mai.
Chiangmai, Thailand has many great restaurants, but the Chiangmai Floating Restaurant is my favorite for lunch. If you are not in a rush and want to try excellent Thai dishes in a wonderful atmosphere for an unbelieveable price, this place is for you.
Now if you are in a hurry, it’s best to eat at a vendor’s stall, as Excellent Thai food takes a lot of preparation and is cooked fresh. Almost all good Thai restaurants have beautiful flower gardens, waterfalls, or ponds with fountains, lots of orchids, and playgrounds for the children. For Thai people, eating out is a pleasure and the food takes a while before it comes to the table, so the atmosphere is very important. Taking family or friends to a noisy restaurant on a busy street is unacceptable and considered very rude for Thai people. Street vendors and busy street side restaurants are OK to purchase food to take home or if you are on your way somewhere, but never for pleasure dinning.
One of my favorite restaurants in Chiangmai, Thailand is Chiang Mai Lan Ahan Reampae, or Chiangmai Floating Restaurant. They now have two, one on Sankhampaeng Road and the other on the outer-ring road to Mae Rim. Since the one off Sankhampaeng road is near my home and closer to town, I always eat at this one.
When you first enter the restaurant, you will notice right away a sign with their health department number and government rating of ‘Very Good”. This puts us at ease knowing the kitchen and dinning area are clean with the food prepared with fresh ingredients.
You will be escorted to your seat in one of the three areas of your choice, one open-air and the other two, covered. The dinning area is floating on pontoons that are extended out into a large pond surrounded by fields and trees. During warm days, it is best to sit in the covered area where a sprinkler system is installed on the roof to cool the hot metal sheets.
Favorite Dish: They have an extensive Thai menu and a shorter English menu. If you have a Thai friend or your Thai guide along with you, ordering from the Thai menu is best, however, the English menu is sufficient.
My wife and I went there last Sunday with friends, five adults and two children, and had 11 different dishes including rice, soft drinks, and fruit shakes, and the total price was under $18. The dishes were Tom Yum Goog (Lemon Grass Soup with Shrimp), Gai Priew Waan (Sweet and Sour Chicken), Khai Jiew Pak (Vegetable Omelet), Pla Grapong Khao Neung Manao (Steamed Sea Perch with Chili in Lime Sauce), Poh Pia Sod (Fried Spring Rolls with Pork, Vegetable Filling and Tamarind Sauce), Paad Bai Gra-pow Gai (Sautéed Chicken with Chili and Basil Leaves), Gai Paad Med Ma-muang Himmapaan (Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts and Dry Chili), Paad Paak Boong (Stir-fried Morning Glory), Plaa Goong (Grilled River Prawn Salad Marinated with Peppermint and Lemon Grass), Gai Hor Bai Toey (Marinated Chicken in Coconut Milk, Wrapped and Baked in Pandan Leaves), and a large plate of mixed fruit.
Once we placed the order the drinks came first, then the soup and finger food such as the spring rolls then the food for the children such as the omelet. When eating Thai food DO NOT scrape one dish onto your plate. Each dish has it’s own serving spoon where you take a little and put it on your plate then use your own spoon and fork. This gives everyone a chance to taste all the wonderful dishes. You are provided a small soup bowl, a plate, fork and spoon. Chop sticks are provided if you order a noodle dish.
The great thing I enjoy about eating Thai-style at a good restaurant is you never know what dish is coming next and when. The first two or three come rather quickly, and then comes the rice. Just as we are almost finishing one or two dishes, one or two more come to replace them.
Randy and Ning
Favorite Dish: Northeastern Thai food is generally of the simple, spicy, peasant variety enjoyed by the inhabitants of this relatively poor region. The most famous dishes include "Somtam" --papaya salad with fish sauce, garlic, chilli peppers, peanuts and puu na field crab added to taste.
Cafe Yen (Thai Ice Coffee): 1 Shot of strong caffinated coffee, a spoonfull or two of sweetend condensed milk, and a cup of ice. If you need a pick me up and can't stand the thought of downing a cup of hot coffee in the humid weather so common in Thailand you should try a cold bag of cafe yen. Cafe Yen is the Thai name for Ice coffee and you can find this sweet , cold, coffee drink at just about any market. If you want the drink to go then they'll prepare it for you and pour it into a plastic bag with a rubber band and a straw. Now, that's the perfect drink for when you're on the run.
Favorite Dish: Chiang Mai is the best place to sample northern cuisine. The most distinct style is known as khan toke. A Khan Toke meal consists of several small dishes. A Khan Toke dinner is traditionally served on a small round table. This one is located inside the Chiang Ping Cultural Market, tourist oriented, they put on a show of traditional dancing along with dinner. Show is free of charge, even you don't order food, you are also welcomed to stand or sit nearby to enjoy the show.
We were guests of the hotel for 5 nights and ate here on 2 evenings. I normally like to eat at restaurants outside the hotel , however as we returned late and tired from full day tours we chose to eat at the Garden Restaurant. The decor is modern and tasteful with plenty of room between the tables. Service is excellent, the staff always out to please. The restaurant serves both european and Thai food but we always try to eat local whilst on holiday. We found the food to be excellent, a little more costly than local restaurants due to 10% service charge and 7% Vat, however this was nothing as the base cost of each meal is so low. eg Nasi Gorang 150 baht, Kaow Soi 130 baht, banana split 130 baht, and Singha beer 120 baht per small bottle.
The cake display was magnificant.
Favorite Dish: All Thai food was fantastic
This is your typical backpacker or casual food joint that you'd see in most backpacker ghettos throuhout South East Asia. However, the food here is good and we've made this place a regular stop whenever we're in Chiang Mai. My wife found this place on a previous trip here and we've been coming ever since.
Favorite Dish: Tom Yum Goon (coconut milk soup and shrimp).
Chiang Mai has its own style of street food, the most well known of which is khao soi. This dish is made with flat egg noodles, something like linguine, served in a hearty soup with either chicken or beef. A thick black chilli paste, lime, shallots and bean sprouts or some other vegetables are served with the dish to allow you to season it to your own taste.
Favorite Dish: If you go to decent Thai restaurant tailored made for tourists, you'll find all the standard items on the menu, like curry, green papaya salad, pad thai, etc. But if you pay a visit to real local area, see what the locals eat in the street vendors, you'll find that deep fried crispy pork dishes are very popularPork intestine, pork liver, pork heart, pork neck, etc. Served with raw vegetables and raw spice leaves, and chilli sauce.
Favorite Dish: OK, ladies and gentlement, let me present the Sticky Rice Stick!. It is wrapped in wood (or bamboo?) and steamed, with red bean inside, sweet in taste. Locals eat this as breakfast. One Bhat each. Well... I don't like ti very much, sort of funny taste, interesting to try out though.
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