Across the city
Chiang Mai has phenomenal late night street food. One of the best places to head for a fail-safe midnight meal is one of the markets. Not all markets are created equal, however, so here’s a rundown of just a couple of our favourite late-night spots.
We’ve already covered the night market at Pratu Chang Puak, one of the best food markets we know of in town, but the perfect midnight meal in Chiang Mai we’d suggest heading to Cowboy Pork (Khao Ka Moo Chang Puak). There’s only one dish for sale at this stand: stewed pork with rice, pickled cabbage and a boiled egg. For 30 baht, it’s hard to beat, especially when the pork is tender and moist, and the woman serving you is wearing a cowboy hat and heels. Expect a long wait, as she’s garnered quite a clientele. What makes her khao ka moo so memorable is the rich broth bathing the meal; rumour has it that the cowboy lady adds milo. Whatever she’s doing to that broth, it’s magical. Still, this stand is just one of many noteworthy options at this market, so be sure to walk around before settling down to eat.
The South Gate market is the place to go for late night noodle soup. More specifically, look for the stand that’s furthest from the gate along the moat. You’ll hit an elaborate operation that runs till midnight, where the kuay teow is piping hot and the broth is masterful. If you arrive on the earlier side of the late night, you might even run into one of our favourite papaya salad stands, located right next door.
It may as well always be either 02:00 or 14:00 on Suthep Road around Chiang Mai University; if you’re hungry and you want it, you’ll find it. The range of offerings is vast, so walk around near the university gate to get a feel for the place. Keep an eye out for Ramen Ya, a ramen and sushi bar operating on the footpath, as well as myriad bubble tea makers offering to mix an assortment of fruit jellies and cereals into your drink.
In particular, try sweet milk and bread at Tho+Sod (Big and Fresh). Choose between steamed and grilled bread, and an assortment of jams, custard and condensed milk concoctions. The sweet mayo and flossy pork or butter and Thai green custard are worth sampling for something different. Tho+Sod remains packed right up until closing time at 01:30, and the staff are among the friendliest we’ve encountered.
For a more lush dining experience, try one of the sit-down restaurants on Suthep Road. Our favourite is Kow Tom Pui Suandok just west of Wat Suandok. Look for the sign below.
Open from 22:00 till 04:00, a variety of tempting ready-to-eat dishes are on offer behind the counter, or ask them to fire up whatever you’d like on their wok. Don’t leave without trying the cashew chicken — it’s spicy. You’ll see families here as well as students, and if there’s an important football match on, rest assured that it will be playing on their TV.
By Claudia Sosa
Last updated on 10th October, 2013.