Here’s a quick run down of everywhere I stopped in Chiang Mai, whether for a quick snack or to kick back with a cocktail!
When I’m in Chiang Mai, there’s a few things I want to do. Breathe fresh air. Wake up late and avoid people. The last trip was pretty successful for all of those goals, but of course — as always I ended up visiting some of my old favorite eating spots and a few new ones.
1. Three Little Pigs Serving Food From Southern U.S.
Go for the gumbo and a long list of Southern U.S. faves, including pulled pork (which as a bit too dry and had an oversized bun), po’boy sandwiches (the catfish rocked), and wash them down with a mint julep. On thing missing at this place? A more welcoming dining area and some southern hospitality from the servers.
2. Khaomao Khaofang (ข้าวเม่า-ข้าวฟ่าง เชียงใหม่) Thai Food Restaurant
This place looks like what happens when the Holiday Inn gets overenthusiastic about having fresh greenery in the lobby. A giant, well manicured fake rainforest, complete with waterfall and all. Great for Chinese tourists coming in large groups and the food is rolled out on hospital carts. Unfortunately, after spending all their funds on fancy plants and lighting, the food tastes like they skimped on paying a good chef.
3. Mixology Cocktails and Tasty Bar Food
Wondering about Chiang Mai’s cocktail scene? Then Mixology has to be on your list of places to visit. Although the name actually bills the place as a drinks and burger joint, their specialty is cocktails and their menu, although great for the size of their kitchen, is pretty boring. Their cocktails are interesting, but it’s heavy on the fruity and cute stuff. Ask for something manly off the menu if you’re not into that.
4. Khao Soi Mae Sai (ข้าวซอยแม่สาย) Famous Chiang Mai Noodles
Hilariously plopped on a back soi in front of a gym with intense body building ads our front, this is still one of my favorite spots for khao soi and nam ngiew noodles. For 35 baht you can find nice sized portions, and noodles that are less oily than the more touristy stops like Khao Soi Khun Yai. You don’t have to be in this shop long to realize it’s well run and great a churning out lots of food very quickly!
5. Ristr8to Coffee Shop
Best coffee shop in Thailand? That’s what I’m hearing from friends, but besides being drawn in by the enthusiasm of the pro-barista owner, I revisited this small coffee hangout to try their new alcoholic coffee concoctions. Each with their own funky name and starting around 130 baht, it’s an intriguing combination of great coffee and booze ranging from Jameson’s Whiskey to Malibu Rum.
6. Like Life Burger Joint
Normally I might be a bit annoyed about so many items being crossed out on the menu, but at Like Life, it seems they’re focusing on the right things. Their budget burgers are tasty, served on decent buns and the most expensive one is around 110 baht! This is no fine dining burger and there’s no beer on the menu, but I’m a new Like Life fan.
7. Bar Fry French Fries and International Tapas
Formerly the Jagajee Bar, Bar Fry has been transformed into a sleek spot with an attitude. Peek inside and you may notice something attention grabbing written on the walls, like “Fuck Monsanto” and know right away that this tiny restaurant is a place you have to try. Each small dish you select is 50 baht and you can order different types of crispy, shoestring style fries with different toppings and sauces. Many tasty things available, although wish there were better wine options and the seats are uncomfortable and better suited for quick pre-dinner tapas.
8. Manifreshto Bakery for Cookies and Pastries
Forget the awful name and try to fight back any dumb Mannie Fresh lyrics spinning in your head because this tiny baking spot has a pretty clever setup. The tiny closet of a space has some tiny seats outside, but most of their clients drop by to take home cookies, brownies, and what other special baking item is on offer. Everything is made fresh and I enjoyed the selection of soft baked cookies. Baking schedule changes daily!
9. Fruiturday Fruit Drinks and Desserts
Another bad name, but this time it includes the word turd. That should have been a sign because the experience was the opposite of dessert place above. Although they’re great at promoting on instagram and taking good photos, the taste of their cutesy desserts didn’t do much for me. The shop is clean and comfortable, but if I stopped here again, it would be for a durian smoothie or something which wasn’t available on the menu this time.
10. Hichi Cocktail Bar
Barely out of it’s birthing stage, Hichi’s sign for cocktails caught my eye. However, they’ve only just opened and the bartender, although super friendly has only a few long drinks on her menu she learned working the bar in the Dusit Thani. I liked the 170 baht price tag, but wasn’t in the mood for more sweet cocktails. There’s food on the menu, but I didn’t try anything. I was busy behind the bar making my own drink! If they sort out the music and begin experimenting with more bespoke cocktails it could get interesting!
11. Huen Jai Yong (เฮือนใจ๋ยอง) Northern Thai Restaurant
Saved the greatest for last. Huen Jai Yong is better at executing the Northern Thai flavors better than many places in town, including hot spots like Tong. But you have to suffer with the post dinner aftermath photo for now. There will be more explanation of this awesome place found way outside Chiang Mai’s city center in my next post on Eating Thai Food. Basically, if you can sort out the transportation, go there because this is my favorite place for Northern Thai food!