Tam Jai Sung

Delicious and affordable

What we say: 4 stars

Chiang Mai’s Tam Jai Sung is an unassuming restaurant serving up a short but sweet collection of Burmese curries, salads and soups, Shan dishes and Thai classics at affordable prices.

Tam Jai Sung

Simple but sweet.

One slight problem with the menu is that it isn’t at all clear which are which, especially to those not so familiar with the cuisines. While you can assume that tom yam or a stir-fry with basil and chillies are Thai and guess that tea-leaf salad is Burmese — what’s a ‘chicken curry’ going to be? You can always ask if you want to be sure, as staff speak some English and are helpful.

...and the said 'chicken curry

… and the said ‘chicken curry

The Thai dishes are all very good and pretty authentic, and only a few baht more than what you’d pay at a street stall or market. The Burmese dishes we sampled were also good, though somewhat toned down from the originals. Burmese flavours can be very different to Thai and certain dishes would come as a surprise to visitors used to the local food, or especially to unsuspecting Thais who didn’t read the ‘Burmese food’ sign.

Not everybody reads this!

Not everybody reads this!

Whether the toning down of the dishes is because of difficulties finding the ingredients or an attempt to cater for Chiang Mai customers’ tastes we don’t know. There are still the pungent flavours of fermented soya beans and pickled tea leaves, but in reduced intensity, and the normally oily curries are far less so — this does make for a good, milder introduction to Burmese food for those who haven’t tried the genuine article.

The famous laphet or Burmese tea-leaf salad

The famous laphet or Burmese tea-leaf salad.

Prices are very reasonable, with for instance a tea-leaf salad (laphet) priced at 40 baht and curries ranging from 50 to 70 baht depending upon the meat selected. The dishes are mild chilli-wise and there are vegetarian options available.

If you’re vegetarian and keen on trying more Burmese food, do check out Free Bird Cafe, a vegetarian Shan food restaurant.) Decor is simple and it’s clean.

Now for the tricky part — finding Tam Jai Sung! The location is at the corner of Ratchapuek and Sermsuk Roads, with the former being the first right turn after Central Department store if you were travelling up Huay Kaew Road. Around 100 metres along brings you to another right turn — continue down there, past the first left turning until you hit a second left turn which is Sermsuk, and the restaurant is on that corner. Sounds a bit complicated but it’s only a five-minute walk from Central.

Tam Jai Sung
Sermsuk Rd (off Ratchapuak Rd), Chiang Mai
Open daily, 10:00-22:00 — closed second and fourth Mondays of each month

Contact details
Sermsuk Rd (off Ratchapuak Rd), Chiang Mai
Open: Open daily, 10:00-22:00 - closed second and fourth Mondays of each month
About the author
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
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Tam Jai Sung
Sermsuk Rd (off Ratchapuak Rd), Chiang Mai

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