With its cooler weather, laid back vibe, and colorful culture, Chiang Mai is a definite tourist favorite. Another thing that makes this northern province so popular among visitors is its delightful cuisine. It’s also a great place to go on a culinary pilgrimage or food tour. It’s heavily influenced by Burmese and Chinese flavors, thus prominently featuring ginger and turmeric as two of its main spices.
Want to go on a culinary tour of this Thai city? You can check out Traveloka’s Chiang Mai tour packages to save on flight tickets and accommodations. This way, you’ll have a bigger budget for food and other experiences like the ones in this list.
Chiang Mai Lunchtime 20-Dish Tour
Do you have a big appetite and don’t want to miss any must-try Chiang Mai dish? Hop on the Chiang Mai Lunchtime 20-Dish Tour! You’ll be going on a trip across the city in a private truck, feasting on a meal of more than 20 dishes. The tour, facilitated by a knowledgeable local tour guide, will also take you to some of Chiang Mai’s best kept secrets. This food tour is as complete as it gets, not to mention highly immersive and authentic.
The Cowboy Hat Lady
If a food stall is always busy and has long lines, it can either be that the place is a tourism icon or the food is really good. In the case of the Cowboy Hat Lady, it’s both. The Cowboy Hat Lady, who is of Chinese descent, sells arguably some of the best khaokha moo in Chiang Mai. Reportedly, her humble stall in Chang Phueak sells more than 400 kilos of pork and over 1,000 pieces of duck eggs. Her version of the dish features slow-cooked pork leg, which results in a flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of meat. It’s a definite a must-try when having a Chiang Mai food tour.
Warorot Market and the Noodle Soup Lady
Another food lady you should visit in Chiang Mai is the Noodle Soup Lady, who has been in the business of selling noodle soups and dishes for over 20 years. Some of the most popular dishes from her stall include khanomjeennamngiao, a traditional northern Thai dish with cubes of chicken blood, and a red coconut curry noodle soup. She opens her shop at around 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon and closes when the soups are all sold out. You can find the Noodle Soup Lady on one of the main side streets of Warorot Market in Mueang Chiang Mai District. While you’re here, you can also explore the market itself, with its vibrant food scene and a wide selection of fresh ingredients.
Siri Wattana Market
For those who love visiting food markets, a must-include stop in your Chiang Mai food tour is Siri Wattana Market in Chang Phueak. Like Warorot Market, you can find plenty of fresh ingredients in Siri Wattana Market. A bonus is that there’s also plenty of organic products, along with different kinds of herbs, flowers, and spices used in northern Thai dishes.
These same ingredients used in cooking are also brewed for tea or made into juices, like butterfly pea flower and pennywort. Of course, you’ll also find plenty of food stalls and mini restaurants in Siri Wattana Market, selling different Thai dishes and Chiang Mai specialties like saioua and miangkam.
Chiang Mai Bike Food Tour
They say that one of the best ways to experience a town or city is to eat and travel like a local. Well, with a Chiang Mai Bike Food Tour, you’ll be able to do both at the same time. What’s great about a bike food tour is that you’ll be going even to the smallest and most obscure back streets and alleys, where the local food vendors are. This also means that you’ll get to try incredible food and sample a more comprehensive menu.
Chiang Mai Tea Tour
Chiang Mai’s weather is conducive to growing plants, flowers, and tea. In fact, there are plenty of tea plantations in Chiang Mai and this includes the famous Araksa Tea Plantation. You can book a tour to explore this vast tea farm, where you can learn about the cultivation process of black Assam tea. Experts will also guide you on how to prepare the perfect cup of tea. Plantation tours come with snacks, which pair perfectly with freshly made Assam tea.
Kanomwan Chang Moi
A food tour isn’t complete without dessert, and one of the best places to get sweet treats in Chiang Mai is Kanomwan Chang Moi. Here you can choose from an “assembly line” of sweet ingredients to create a customized dessert. It’s a perfect conclusion to your hearty food tour. Fair warning though, as this shop is almost always full during lunch hours.
When it comes to a culinary pilgrimage to Chiang Mai, one thing is for sure. Whether you join a group or go on a DIY tour, all of your senses will be satisfied.