Great cheap food
This small but interesting night market sets up every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening outside Central Shopping Mall on Chiang Mai’s Huay Kaew Road and for fans of Thai food it’s well worth a visit.
The market’s unusual name — in Thai, Sum Meut means ‘hiding, or hidden, in the dark’ — is reputedly a reference to it being originally lit by candles, and so difficult to see in the semi-darkness.
Sum Meut market sets up around 16:00 thrice weekly on the front steps of the huge mall so these days it is pretty brightly lit. The lower, street level consists of shoe and clothes stalls of perhaps limited interest to visitors but the upper level by the main mall entrance is an eclectic collection of food stalls. Low tables are provided, so you can either eat there or take away.
The offerings on display are a mixture of classic Thai and local, northern specialities. This means you’ll find various noodle soups, pad Thai, Chiang Mai sausage, kebabs and barbecued meats plus of course the ubiquitous fried insects. It is a small market so there’s not a huge choice but there should be something there to suit all tastes. Furthermore everything’s cheap, so for a handful of baht you can sample quite a range of products.
Being slightly out of the town centre, not many tourists have discovered this little spot yet so the clientele is mostly locals and a few expats. You may have to do more pointing than ordering but everything’s cooked under your nose and it’s easy to see what your options are.
The market closes when Central shutters at 22:00 – otherwise they’d have to get the candles out again.
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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