Six Cheap and Tasty Thai Food Restaurants in Chiang Mai

I know I’m still writing about Cambodia on the blog, but we’ve actually been living in Chiang Mai, Thailand for the past two months. We’ve been on the road for most of this year, and after three months of continuous travel in Southeast Asia, it has been great to just stay put here in Chiang Mai for a while.

After two months here, I’ve come to know the city quite well. We’re staying right in the Old City, and I’ve explored a lot of its streets and alleyways, seen lots of temples and eaten so much delicious food it’s not funny.

I just love Thai food, and Chiang Mai has some of the best that I’ve tasted. Over the past two months we’ve found a few favourite spots that we keep returning to, mainly in the North Eastern corner of the Old City as that is where we are staying. These places have really captured our taste buds and I often find myself craving a certain dish from a certain restaurant or food stall. Here are six of my favourite restaurants to get cheap and tasty Thai food in Chiang Mai.

Barnakarn Kitchen

Chicken Panang Curry in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chicken Panang Curry at Barnakarn Kitchen

This little restaurant opens around sunset on Moon Muang (the moat road in the Old City) just north of Sompet Market, between Soi 6 and Soi 7. From their food cart they cook up some absolutely amazing traditional Thai dishes. A couple of my favourites here include Crispy Pork with fried greens and rice, a spicy Panang Curry and Pad Krapow Moo (minced pork with chilli and basil). Most dishes also have a tofu option for vegetarians. They have an inside seating area or you can sit out on the street on fine nights. Most dishes cost 40-50 Baht.

Aroy Dee

Fried Rice in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Fried Rice at Aroy Dee

One of our all time favourites and a place that we have to eat at a couple of times each week, Aroy Dee is a little family run restaurant that cooks up the most delicious noodles and fried rice that I’ve ever had in Thailand. They have a small menu consisting of only four dishes, but they cook them all to absolute perfection. I usually find myself ordering fried rice or Pad See Ew (fried big noodles), but all dishes are amazing. They cook from a food cart and have a small indoor eating area. The people who run Aroy Dee are all very lovely and friendly and recognize us whenever we walk in. All dishes here cost 40 Baht and include a bowl of soup broth. Each dish has the option of chicken, pork, shrimp or tofu.

Aroy Dee opens in the late afternoon and is located on Moon Muang (the moat road) just south of Sompet Market. You’ll see the food cart with the amazing aromas coming from it and know that you’re in the right spot. There are only five tables, so you might have to wait a few minutes to get a seat. They also set up a couple of tables on the street when the weather is nice.

Isaan Ros Sab

Gravy Noodles and Mango Salad in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Gravy Noodles and Mango Salad at Isaan Ros Sab

Another little local place situated on the corner of Rachapakinai Road and Soi 9, Isaan Ros Sab serves up some very tasty Isaan cuisine, along with lots of other Thai dishes. They have some great salads here. Try their Som Tam Thai (Thai salad), Tam Tua (green bean salad) and Tom Yam (hot and sour soup). Most dishes are under 60 Baht.

Best Local Thai Restaurant

Yellow Curry in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yellow Curry at Best Local Thai Restaurant

Their name certainly makes a statement. Best Local Thai Restaurant is located on Soi 6 right next to Sompet Market – you’ll see their blackboard sign out the front. Are they the best local Thai restaurant in Chiang Mai? Well that’s probably impossible to know, but they could certainly be in the running. This place is a little pricier than the other restaurants in this article, but the food is very delicious. I really enjoy their curries, along with some of their soups. Most meals cost about 60-80 Baht, but range up to 120 Baht for a Tom Yam soup.

Yok Fa

Ratna - Pork Gravy Noodles in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Ratna – Pork Gravy Noodles at Yok Fa

Located on Rachapakinai Road south of Soi 6, Yok Fa is a popular eatery with locals. I’ve rarely seen other foreigners here, but they do have an English menu. Yok Fa seems to specialise in pork soup dishes, but they also do a pad see ew and mango salad. The dish that really draws me here is their ratna, a very tasty gravy noodle dish with pork. It consists of big noodles with pork and greens in a thick, mouth watering gravy sauce. Most dishes cost 40 Baht.

Morning Glory

Tofu Massaman Curry in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Tofu Massaman Curry with brown rice at Morning Glory

If you’re a vegetarian, Morning Glory is a must if you’re in Chiang Mai. This tiny restaurant serves a wide range of vegetarian only Thai meals. I like to come here for something a little different as they cook traditional Thai dishes with their own kind of style. I quite liked their Khao Soy, Massaman Curry and Glass Noodle Bake. Most dishes come with tofu and brown rice, and cost 50-60 Baht.

Morning Glory is located at the Eastern end of Ratwithi Road between Soi 2 and Rachapakinai Road.

There are a lot of amazing places to eat in Chiang Mai, and so many that I have yet to try, but these six places are a good start. If you love Thai food, you are going to love Chiang Mai!

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6 comments… add one
  • Kristy Oct 1, 2013

    It looks like you love pork dishes. Seeing those picture of the food you like makes me hungry that I want to try Chicken Panang Curry if only there’s a Vietnamese restaurant nearby our place.

    • Dean Wickham Oct 10, 2013

      Hey Kristy. It’s funny, I don’t eat a lot of pork back home, but I really love it in Asia. They just know how to make it extra tasty 🙂

  • James Shannon Nov 1, 2013

    Try TANYA on Ratwithi Road near the Chiang Mai Museum … most entrees are less than 30 baht … simply amazing … and the atmosphere and decor seal the deal!

    • Dean Wickham Nov 4, 2013

      Hey James. Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in Chiang Mai

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