Plenty of choice
The excellent walking street market that sets up in Chiang Mai late Sunday afternoons along Ratchadamnoen Road serves up some fantastic food, especially local specialties. You might not sit down for a full blown Thai banquet but it’s certainly a paradise for snackers. Here’s a selection of what you might find.
All the usual Thai suspects are on offer: pad Thai, green curries, noodle soups, plus fried chicken, burgers and ice-creams… but if you nose around a bit you’ll be able to sniff out plenty of genuine local delicacies including some hard-to-find-elsewhere nibbles.
We stumbled for the first time here onto kai pam, an unusual local omelette where the eggs are grilled in a banana leaf boat either with ingredients such as pork or prawns in the mix or just cooked plain with your topping of choice added afterwards. These go for 10 to 20 baht depending upon filling.
The famous Chiang Mai sausages are a common feature of pavement barbecues — the above photo also shows fermented pork, (naem), either in kefta-type patties or wrapped in banana leaves; bags of sticky rice to complete your snack will be available from the same vendors. Again, expect to pay 10 to 20 baht, plus five baht more for the rice. Alternatively, accompany your sausage with another local variation: khao niaw ping or grilled sticky rice.
Noodle-wise, the Chiang Mai classic khao soi is very much in evidence here, while pat mee, despite the generic name, is a kind of local take on pad thai.
If you are feeling more than peckish, then go for the take-away, pre-prepared dishes, which could be either eaten at your guesthouse or at one of the nearby low tables, washed down with a cold beer. We’ve found here gaeng hoe, a kind of Lanna equivalent of bubble and squeak, where leftovers from earlier meals are simply fried up together with a few additional herbs and spices, and tam kanoon, the classic young jackfruit curry. Both are 30 baht a serving.
Finally, save some room for desserts! Typical Lanna sweets are well represented, such as khanom fak tong and khanom kluay, pumpkin or banana mixed with sticky rice and honey, and steamed in banana leaf wraps — a give away at 1 baht a go.
Most of the food stalls are found off the main drag in the less hectic temple yards: Wat Muen Lan, Wat Pan On and Wat Sum Pow. There is some low seating or just floor mats, where drinks are served too.
The market sets up from 16:00-ish onwards and continues until 23:00, though food may run out before this. A red note ought to get you a snack, main course and even a drink — not a bad price to pay when you consider you’ll likely find snacks not easy to track down elsewhere in the city.
By Mark Ord
Last updated on 10th October, 2013.