I was half-delirious by the time I finally arrived to Chiang Mai, but I had a singular mission: street food.
Coming off of two nights spent in transit (one on an airplane from Cairo; a second on the train from Bangkok), arriving to Chiang Mai felt like a bit of a dream. In true form, I didn’t know what side of the street you were supposed to drive on (trick question in Thailand: the answer is “anywhere you want”) or what the country’s currency was (fyi: baht), but I knew that I wanted to eat.
Before heading to the Chiang Mai night market, my friends and I stopped for dinner at Street Pizza, which is near the start of the market. While service was comically slow, the pizza was the best that I’ve had since leaving the states – so it’s worth a visit if you have the time. You can probably fill up for dinner on the food from the market, but it would involve a lot of tapas-style eating and we were too hungry to start our evening that way.
Because we had already eaten dinner, the night market for us was all about snacks and desserts (my favorite!). The winner for me out of everything that I tried was a sweet Thai crepe. Not to be confused with sweet roti pancake, this dessert is a palm-sized crispy crepe topped with a dollop of sweet meringue and a sprinkling of foy tong (strands of sweetened egg yolk).
Despite eyeing the many meat offerings, I only sampled a few things – most of the meat seems to be very fatty or fried, which wasn’t what I was feeling like eating after downing my weight in pizza.
My favorite of the meat that we tried was probably the bag of bacon-meets-pork-belly-pieces that my friend Kyle got from one vendor.
We returned to the night market a few times during our stay in Chiang Mai, mostly to wander and people-watch. It’s a good spot to pick up souvenirs if you’re willing to bargain, but I always preferred to stick near the food stalls. Surprise, surprise.
My photography from the first part of Thailand is on the lighter side because of an unexpected side project that popped up (can’t wait to share more… stay tuned!) , but I wanted to be sure to capture the night market while in Chiang Mai.
When you go
- The best and biggest night market is on Saturdays and Sundays along Chang Khan Road. Any tuk tuk will know where to take you. There’s a daily market as well, but wait for the weekend one if you can.
- Make sure you bargain if you do decide to buy souvenirs. Most sellers will start at least 2x the final cost.
- Eat at Street Pizza (86-88 Thapae Road) beforehand! Service was comically slow, but the pizza was the best that I’ve had since leaving the states.