Cheap, clean, fast
Central Huay Kaew shopping mall
Tops supermarket’s food hall at Chiang Mai’s Huay Kaew mall has had a bit of a makeover recently and while you still might not go there for the ambiance or decor — think canteen-esque — it’s a great spot to taste some cheap, varied and well-prepared local specialties. Here’s what you can expect.
For those not au fait with the coupon system you see in many Thai food halls and markets, you purchase a bunch of coupons then wander around the numerous food and drink stalls, using said vouchers to pay for your selections. Any unused coupons will then be refunded once you’ve had your fill. We find 100 baht’s worth of coupons will easily cover two dishes and a drink.
All the local classics are here: half a dozen different kinds of noodle soup including khao soi — and a very fine one it is too — plus chicken on rice, stewed pork, crispy pork, duck and fried noodle dishes, such as perennial favourite pad Thai. Expect to pay 30 to 50 baht for large helpings. Ready-prepared curry dishes and stir-fries are also arranged for you to choose from and go for 30 baht a dish with rice or two different choices on rice for 35 baht.
An advantage here with the prepared dishes is that the food hall is air-con as well as perhaps more hygienic than some of the alternative street and market spots, so you don’t need to hesitate to try anything, even those prepared earlier. For regional offerings, you’ll find both southern Thai and northeastern dishes available too.
Leave room to try a selection of the wide range of Thai desserts, and there’s a very good coffee shop here selling the local brew as well. A couple of fruit juice stands whip up a variety of drinks too.
It’s noisy, bright and usually crowded, so you might not want to linger here, but it’s a good spot to pick up some lunch and even stock up on a few home comforts — cheese, chocolate, cookies — at the adjacent supermarket.
The food hall is located on the basement floor of the Central Huay Kaew shopping mall on Huay Kaew Road .
By Mark Ord
Last updated on 20th September, 2013.