Skip to Content

Chiang Mai Food Guide: 11 Must-Try Street Food Stalls and Restaurants in Chiang Mai

Like Bangkok, Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations. It receives millions of visitors annually and is without a doubt the most visited city in Northern Thailand. With so many tourists flocking to Chiang Mai each year, it isn’t surprising that the city has a wealth of restaurants to choose from.

We wanted to find the best restaurants in the city so we pored over Chiang Mai food blogs and crowd review websites to know where to find the best examples of local dishes like khao soi, kai yang, and suki. Also included is arguably the city’s most popular eatery – a humble street food stall offering braised pork leg by the legendary Cowboy Hat Lady!

If you’re heading up north and wondering where you can go to get the best food in Chiang Mai, then you’ve come to the right place.


To help plan your trip to Chiang Mai, I’ve compiled links to hotels, tours, and other services here.


Top-rated hotels in the Old Town, the most convenient area to stay for first-time visitors to Chiang Mai.




If you’re planning a trip to Chiang Mai, then be sure to check out our detailed Chiang Mai travel guide. It’ll have all the information you need – like when to go, where to stay, what to do, etc. – to help you plan your trip.

Save This on Pinterest!

No time to read this guide on the best Chiang Mai restaurants? Click on the save button and pin it for later!

Gai yang or roast chicken


1. Khao Soi Khun Yai

Khao soi is a Chiang Mai food favorite of crispy and soft egg noodles in a creamy, curry-like sauce made with coconut milk. It’s typically made with chicken or beef but some restaurants offer versions with pork, shrimp, or fish as well.

Khao soi is usually served with a side of chopped red onions, pickled cabbage, and a wedge of lime. If you like, you can mix a packet of pork rinds into your khao soi for extra crunch.

When I think of the best food in Chiang Mai, khao soi is the first dish I think of. It’s such an important northern Thai dish that every list of must-try Chiang Mai foods should begin with khao soi.

We had it several times in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, and the version here at Khao Soi Khun Yai was by far our favorite.

I didn’t see any signs for Khao Soi Khun Yai so look out for this open air setup soon as you exit and make a left from the Old City North Gate. It’ll be on your left through a small gate.

Khao Soi Khun Yai is popular and open only from 10AM-2PM, so try to arrive early to avoid running out of food.

Khao Soi Khun Yai restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Like many of the Chiang Mai restaurants we visited on this trip, we learned about Khao Soi Khun Yai from Mark Wiens of

Mark’s the man when it comes to Thai food so when he said Khao Soi Khun Yai offers the best khao soi in Chiang Mai, we knew we had to try it. And he was right. It was delicious, rich and creamy without being too sweet.

Bowl of khao soi at Khao Soi Khun Yai restaurant in Chiang Mai

Khao Soi Khun Yai

Address: Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Operating Hours: 10AM-2PM, Mon-Sat
What to Order: Khao soi
How to Get There: Khao Soi Khun Yai is located just outside the North Gate (Chang Phueak) of the Old City. Exit through the North Gate and make a left. You’ll see a gate with Khao Soi Khun Yai just inside.

2. Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak (Cowboy Hat Lady)

If khao soi is Chiang Mai’s most famous dish, then this food stall is arguably its most famous. Manning the stall is this lady badass wearing a 10 gallon cowboy hat.

Known as the Cowboy Hat Lady, she’s been described as a Chiang Mai institution with a reputation for serving some of the best khao kha moo in town. Khao kha moo is braised pork leg cooked in Chinese five spice and served over rice with a medium-boiled egg.

From the moment her stall opens at 5PM, it’s constantly flooded with people looking to get their khao kha moo fix. And not just people on foot either. Cars and motorbikes would stop by the side of the road and get her food to go! It’s without a doubt one of the most popular restaurants in Chiang Mai.

Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Here’s a small order of Cowboy Hat Lady’s famous khao kha moo. It’s a little sweet and incredibly tender, so tender that you could practically shake the meat off the bone just by smacking the table! Don’t miss this Chiang Mai food classic.

Khao Kha Moo at Chang Phueak, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak

Address: Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Operating Hours: 5PM-12MN, daily
What to Order: Khao kha moo (stewed pork leg with rice)
How to Get There: Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak is one of the food stalls across the street from the Old City North Gate (Chang Phueak). Just look for the cowboy-hat-wearing lady holding a cleaver in her hand. It’ll probably be the busiest stall there.

3. Suki Koka

Located in the same cluster of food stalls as the Cowboy Hat Lady, this bowl of Thai suki was one of Ren’s favorite things to eat in Chiang Mai.

Served wet or dry, Suki Koka’s Thai suki consists of vegetables cooked with mung bean noodles and a mix of seafood or your choice of meat. Like Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak, it’s one of the most popular Chiang Mai restaurants. Don’t leave without eating at both.

Suki Koka, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Suki Koka makes their Thai suki with heaps of cabbage cooked briefly in a wok at high heat, keeping it crunchy whilst giving it that wonderful smokey wok hei flavor.

Ren had this dry version with pork (suki haeng moo). It was absolutely delicious, especially when eaten with the suki sauce which Ren thought was the best part about the dish.

Thai suki at Suki Koka in Chiang Mai, Thailand

I had the suki soup (suki nam talay) made with different types of seafood like squid, shrimp, and fish balls. It was fantastic too.

Suki soup at Suki Koka in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Suki Koka

Address: Thanon Manee Nop Parat, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Operating Hours: 5:30PM-12MN, daily
What to Order: Suki haeng (dry suki), Suki nam (suki soup)
How to Get There: If you’re facing the Old City, then Suki Koka will be to the right of the Cowboy Hat Lady’s stall.

4. Cherng Doi Roast Chicken

If you’re in the mood for kai yang (roast chicken), then Cherng Doi should be at the top of your list. It’s an Isan dish that’s popular throughout Thailand. A whole chicken is halved and pounded flat before being marinated then slowly grilled over a low charcoal flame.

Along with SP Chicken, Cherng Doi Roast Chicken is often cited for being one of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai to have kai yang. Both were fantastic, but I preferred Cherng Doi.

Cherng Doi Roast Chicken restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Kai yang is an Isan dish so it’s commonly eaten with som tam (green papaya salad) and sticky rice. The meat was tender and juicy with nicely crisped skin. It’s a little sweet from the marinade and goes very well with the acidity from the som tam and the chewiness of the sticky rice. Delicious!

Gai yang at Cherng Doi Roast Chicken restaurant in Chiang Mai

Cherng Doi Roast Chicken

Address: 2/8 Suk Kasame Rd, ตำบล สุเทพ Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Operating Hours: 11AM-10PM, Tues-Sun (closed Mon)
What to Order: Kai yang nung krob (roast chicken), som tam
How to Get There: Cherng Doi Roast Chicken is in the trendy Nimman area. Walking southwest on Nimmanahaeminda Road, make a right into Suk Kasame Road. The restaurant will be on your right.

5. Kiat Ocha

If you like Hainanese chicken rice, then you need to eat at Kiat Ocha. Open since 1957, they’ve been specializing in this Southern China dish for over 60 years now.

Hainanese chicken rice consists of whole poached chicken served with oily rice (cooked in chicken fat) and chicken broth soup, along with freshly minced red chilli and garlic, dark soy sauce, and freshly ground ginger.

Kiat Ocha is also one of the most popular Chiang Mai restaurants so it was brimming with people when we were there. They’re only open till 3PM so it’s a great restaurant to have a nice chicken rice lunch.

We already had lunch before coming here so we could only manage the small khao man kai set, but two people on empty stomachs can easily share the large, maybe even the jumbo.

Kiat Ocha restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand

If you’re a fan of satay, then you’ll be pleased to know that Kiat Ocha is just as famous for its satay as it is for its Hainanese chicken rice.

Originally from Indonesia, satay refers to a family of seasoned, skewered, and grilled meat served with a sauce, most commonly peanut sauce. It’s a popular dish throughout many countries in Southeast Asia.

Satay at Kiat Ocha restaurant in Chiang Mai

The small plate of their khao man kai set comes with a few pieces of boiled chicken and a chunk of congealed blood. I believe the larger servings come with different types of offal as well.

The oily rice is served on the side along with some chicken broth soup, fresh ginger and chili, and a fermented soy bean dipping sauce.

The chicken was tender and the rice nice and fragrant. Hainanese chicken rice isn’t the most colorful dish around but it’s incredibly tasty, much tastier than it looks, especially when eaten with all the fixings. I’ve become a big fan of it and Kiat Ocha’s version was delicious.

We shared an order of moo satay as well which consisted of ten sticks of pork satay served with cucumber relish and a peanut sauce. This was delicious too so be sure to order both.

Thai food at Kiat Ocha restaurant in Chiang Mai

Kiat Ocha

Address: 42-43 Intawarorot Road, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Operating Hours: 6AM-3PM, daily
What to Order: Khao man kai set (Hainanese chicken rice), moo satay (pork)
How to Get There: Kiat Ocha is located in the heart of Chiang Mai Old City not too far from Three Kings Monument Square. You can refer to the location map below to see exactly where it is.

6. Khantoke Dinner at Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center

If you’re looking for a dose of culture with your meal, then be sure to enjoy a khantoke dinner at Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center. A khantoke is a traditional Thai Lanna lunch or dinner offered to guests to celebrate any number of occasions.

You can enjoy a khantoke dinner and show at several venues in Chiang Mai, but Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center is credited for being the first to offer it to tourists. They’ve been doing it since 1971.

Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center, Chiang Mai, Thailand

The term “khantoke” specifically refers to the round pedestal tray (pictured below) used as a dining table during the meal.

Diners sit on the floor enjoying dishes like Burmese pork curry, green chili paste, minced pork in tomato-chili paste, and fried pork rinds while being treated to a series of traditional Thai Lanna dances. You can check out my post on the khantoke dinner at Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center for more pictures and information.

Khantoke at Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center in Chiang Mai

Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center

Address: Hai Ya Rd, Tambon Hai Ya, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
Operating Hours: 7-10PM, daily
What to Order: Khantoke dinner
How to Get There: The Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center is located just south of the Old City. Round trip transportation is included in the dinner price.

7. SP Chicken

As described, SP Chicken is often cited as being one of the best restaurants to eat kai yang in Chiang Mai. It’s popular with both locals and tourists so be prepared for a long queue!

Luckily for us, it wasn’t too far from where we were staying so we ordered half a chicken to go and ate it at our hotel.

SP Chicken restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand

One of the reasons why their chicken is so good is that it’s roasted on vertical spits with the heat source coming from the side, instead of the bottom.

This unique method eliminates the chance of oil dripping down onto hot coals and causing a grease fire to burn the chicken. Brilliant!

Chicken grilling at SP Chicken restaurant in Chiang Mai

The roast chicken was delicious, its meat moist and tender with crisp, flavorful skin. Their chickens are pretty small though so two people may want to share a whole bird.

As described, kai yang is an Isan specialty so SP Chicken serves many other Isan dishes as well. We enjoyed our roast chicken with a tasty order of som tam.

Gai yang and som tam from SP Chicken restaurant in Chiang Mai

SP Chicken

Address: Samlan Rd Soi 1, Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Operating Hours: 10AM-5PM, daily
What to Order: SP roast chicken
How to Get There: SP Chicken is located in Chiang Mai Old City, just around the corner from Wat Phra Singh. Check out the location map below to see exactly where it is.

8. Tong Tem Toh

I learned about Tong Tem Toh from It’s one of the trendier Chiang Mai restaurants in the Nimman area known for serving delicious Northern Thai dishes.

We got to the restaurant early for dinner and nearly every table was already taken. By the time we left at around 7PM, there was a big crowd of people waiting outside for a table. If you can, then I suggest coming here early to avoid a long wait.

Tong Tem Toh restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand

The restaurant has an extensive menu so we weren’t sure what to order, until we had a look around. Nearly every table had this beautiful platter of Northern Thai appetizers so that’s what we decided to get.

On it were Chiang Mai food favorites like sai oua (Northern Thai sausage), nam prik ong (chili-based dip), nam prik noom (roasted banana pepper chili sauce), pork rinds, eggs, and some raw vegetables for dipping.

Thai food at Tong Tem Toh restaurant in Chiang Mai

We asked our server for suggestions and she recommended the barbecued meats as well. Their grill is set up right by the entrance so it’s hard not to notice all this delicious-smelling meat!

Meat grilling at Tong Tem Toh restaurant in Chiang Mai

If I remember correctly, we got an order of the pork shoulder. I’m not sure if we were just unlucky that day, but ours was a little dry and tough from being overcooked. It wasn’t as enjoyable as the platter of Northern Thai appetizers.

Grilled meat from Tong Tem Toh restaurant in Chiang Mai

Tong Tem Toh

Address: Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Operating Hours: 7AM-9PM, daily
What to Order: Northern Thai hors d’oeuvres
How to Get There: Tong Tem Toh is located to the west of Chiang Mai Old City. It may be too far to walk so you may want to take an Uber or Grab there. You can refer to the location map below to see exactly where it is.

9. Huen Phen

I learned about this restaurant from as well. It’s a long-standing restaurant known for serving good Northern Thai food like khao soi. The restaurant has an interesting interior with plenty of knick-knacks to photograph and pore over.

Huen Phen restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand

I wanted to try their khao soi but learned that it’s only served for lunch. Boo! I asked my server for recommendations and one of the dishes he suggested was this Chiang Mai food favorite of nam prik noom. You can never go wrong with these Northern Thai chili dips.

Nam prik noom at Huen Phen restaurant in Chiang Mai

He also suggested this dish which was vaguely labeled “chicken in northern soup”. I don’t know what it’s Thai name is, but it’s basically a clear soup made with chicken and different types of vegetables. It wasn’t the most exciting dish around but it was pretty tasty.

Thai dish at Huen Phen restaurant in Chiang Mai

Huen Phen

Address: 112 Ratchamanka Rd, ตำบล พระสิงห์ Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Operating Hours: 8:30AM-4PM, 5-10PM, daily
What to Order: Northern Thai green chili, chicken in soup with vegetables
How to Get There: Huen Phen is located in the Old City, just south of Wat Chedi Luang on the corner of Ratchamanka and Jhaban Roads.

10. Ploen Ruedee Night Market

As is the case with many of these night bazaars, the food typically isn’t anything to rave about. But what it does lack in quality, it more than makes up for in selection.

At Ploen Ruedee Night Market, you’ll find plenty of food stalls offering a wide range of Chiang Mai foods and Western dishes. It’s a more modern and trendy type of night market with a live cover band and dance floor.

The atmosphere is lively and a lot of fun, making it a great place to grab a beer and enjoy a few snacks after a long day under the hot Chiang Mai sun. You can check out this post for more pictures and information.

Ploen Ruedee Night Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand

This VW Kombi repurposed into a cocktail bar was my favorite booth at the night market. Isn’t it cool? These are the types of trendy and fun concepts you can find at Ploen Ruedee Night Market.

Bar at Ploen Ruedee Night Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Ploen Ruedee Night Market

Address: Chang Moi, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
Operating Hours: 5:30PM-12MN, Mon-Sat
How to Get There: Ploen Ruedee Night Market is located east of the Old City. Exit through the Eastern Gate (Tha Phae) and walk straight along Tha Phae Road. Make a right on Chang Klan Road and you’ll see the entrance to the night market on your right. We used Grab to get there but it looks close enough to walk from the Old City.

11. Ristr8to Coffee

I found this place by accident. I was staying in the Nimman area waiting to be picked up for a foraging tour. It was too early for breakfast at my hotel so I walked along Nimmanahaeminda Road and found this trendy specialty coffee shop.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Ristr8to is a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awardee known for serving some of the very best coffee in Chiang Mai. Jackpot!

Ristr8to Coffee, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Rist8to offers specialty coffee made from beans sourced from different parts of the world. I wanted something strong so I had the Cigar8to which is rated 6/8 on their strength scale.

Bold and full-bodied, it gave me just the jolt of caffeine I was looking for. I’m no expert but this was an excellent cup of coffee.

Rist8to is a trendy hipster coffee shop known for their foam art and colorful coffee names like Satan Latte, Godmother Mocha, and Shakerato from Hell.

My Cigar8to came in a regular cup but some of their offerings are served in less conventional vessels like skull glasses and test tubes. If you enjoy good coffee, especially good Instagrammable coffee, then you’re going to love this place.

Cup of coffee at Ristr8to Coffee in Chiang Mai

Ristr8to Coffee

Address: 15/3 Nimmanhemin Road, Suthep, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Operating Hours: 7:08AM-6:08PM, daily
What to Order: Signature coffees
How to Get There: Ristr8to Coffee is located in the Nimman area. It’s on Nimmanahaeminda Road between Lane 3 and 5.


To help you find the restaurants mentioned in this Chiang Mai restaurant guide, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. It includes a bunch of others as well that we wanted to visit but couldn’t get to. Click on the link for an interactive version of the map.

Chiang Mai map with restaurant pins


With Chiang Mai being such a popular tourist destination, you’ll have a ton of restaurants to choose from so I hope this guide can help put you on the right track. We like to experience as much local food when we travel so many of these Chiang Mai restaurants feature Northern Thai specialties like khao soi, nam prik, and sai oua.

If you want to go beyond this guide and really sink your teeth into Northern Thai cuisine, then I suggest checking out this awesome Chiang Mai food tour by A Chef’s Tour. It’s a four-hour guided tour that takes you to some of the best local eateries in the city.

You’ll visit a local market and several restaurants where you’ll experience interesting Chiang Mai foods like naem, larb, and nam ngiaw. Most of the restaurants you’ll go to are off the tourist circuit and not the type you can easily find on your own. It’s about as deep a local food experience as you can get.


Some of the links in this guide to the best Chiang Mai restaurants are affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a small commission if we make a sale at no added expense to you. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you!

Found this article useful? Help us help other travelers by sharing it!


Tuesday 9th of May 2023

Hi JB & Renée This is a great article on Chiang Mai Street Food, current and accurate. I used you on my recent trip to Chiang Mai in February and have provided a link to your article and quoted your comment on Khao Soi Khun Yai.

We also used the Chiang Mai Chef's tour and also the one in Bangkok (my next article). I agree with you Cherng Doi is my preference over SP chicken but the difference is marginal and I'd always go to the more that's more convenient.

I think our coverage of street food in Chiang Mai harmonises well. Isn't the Internet great, when I first went to Chiang Mai the only source of accurate information was Nancy Chandler's maps. Also a fan of Mark Wiens!

Happy to discuss more if you are interested. You have a great blog. Tony

JB & Renée

Sunday 21st of May 2023

Thanks Tony! Happy you found the article useful.

Coffee Bar

Sunday 11th of October 2020

Great article. Couldn't be write much better!

Best regards, Abildgaard Duke

JB & Renée

Tuesday 13th of October 2020

Thanks Abildgaard.  :)


Monday 6th of July 2020

HUEN PHEN was an awful experience for me. The Northern curry was closer to dishwater than food in both, taste and appearance. Pomelo salad was ridiculous as well. I tried a bite of both, paid, and left. Would discourage anyone to waste their time with this tourist trap.

JB & Renée

Saturday 11th of July 2020

Sorry to hear you had a terrible experience Jan. It's important to hear about the good and bad experiences when it comes to food.

Alan smith

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

I love Thai food, specifically the hotness and chilliness and of Thai food, please advise me some excellent dishes in non-veg

JB & Renée

Friday 24th of April 2020

@Alan: All of the dishes listed here are non-veg. :)

Peter Soroko

Monday 18th of February 2019

We stumbled across WFFF planning for our Thailand/Vietnam trip this past January (2019) and were so lucky/happy we did! Our plan was to eat our way through the cities we went to and it was so perfect to find you guys, exactly the info we were looking for (and the first timer guides are super helpful too!).

We went to a lot of the places on this list -- our favorites were SP Chicken, Khao Soi Khun Yai and Suki Koka. Thanks so much for all of the great recs!

JB & Renée

Monday 18th of February 2019

That's great to hear Peter! Happy you found the guides useful. And I think we have the same taste in food! Those were some of our favorites too. The khao soi at Khao Soi Khun Yai was unbelievable! Loved Suki Koka too. :)