Jul 08 2012
Looking for some great street food in Chiang Mai? The short section of Intawarorot Road, near the Three Kings Monument between Chaban and Phrapokklao Roads and opposite the City Arts and Cultural Centre, is little frequented by visitors to Chiang Mai but very well known among residents for its delicious and cheap food. It’s worth taking a break from the usual restaurants and seeking out.
Now this is typical Thai street fare so don’t come here expecting to find a green curry or fried chicken and cashews. What these half a dozen or so joints do have is a great quantity and quality of noodle soups and chicken, pork and duck on rice type dishes that form classic Thai lunch selections. No, there isn’t the bewildering array of options you’ll find at say Chang Puak night market, but with each of the eateries tending to specialise in just one or two dishes, they all appear high up in the Chiang Mai food reputation stakes for their respective signature dishes.
The cafes are all adjacent and all on the right side of the road if you’re heading eastwards. (We won’t name them since they all only have Thai-script signs anyway.) First up is one of the city’s best known khao soi purveyors. We’ve already described the famous north Thai noodle soup khao soi, and this is one of the best in town. It’s just 30 baht and attains a commendable 7.5 on our khao soi-ometer.
Other than chicken khao soi they only do chicken on rice so if you don’t like chicken you are admittedly a bit stuck, though next up is the strip’s one spot for vegetarians, the Chiang Mai Hydro salad store.
It’s takeaway only — prepared salads — but there’s nothing to stop you ordering a dish in an adjacent restaurant and eating your salad there too. It’s also a useful spot to know say if you were planning a picnic. Salad’s are pretty classic but all made with top quality products and prepared every morning.
After that it’s back to chicken — with Hainanese chicken rice to be precise, or khao man gai as the Thais say, predominating though plenty of duck, crispy pork, stewed pork shank and pork sate options available too.
All are cheap (30-ish baht), simple and well prepared versions of these Thai classics so as we said, nothing fancy but well worth checking out for lunch if you’re wandering around the old town. The shops open mid-morning and continue until mid-afternoon or when the food runs out, so come for brunch or lunch but not dinner.
Finally, last up along the short strip is a very good juice bar to wash down your chicken.
Though this stretch is somewhat tucked away, a right turn at the subsequent T-junction will bring you onto Ratchadamneon, close to Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang so you’re only a two-minute walk from the centre of town.
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