Even though Chiang Mai is packed full of fancy restaurants and arty cafes, we still need those local haunts to fall back on when we are craving that spicy salad or rich noodle broth for just a few baht. Here are three we love.
If you like local northern food, at a good price, and late at night, then there is no better place to visit than the famous Laab Bunker. Laab Bunker has been providing midnight northern snacks to revellers and night shift workers with cheap and delicious northern food for years. Now open until 8am, you can even catch an early breakfast there on the way to work…or on the way home from a really good party. Northern spicy laab (minced meat salad), aong-or (seasoned pork brain grilled in banana leaf – trust us, it tastes better than it sounds) and the northern classic spicy sausage sai-ua are all house favourites. This is local food at its best, and well worth a visit. If you are drunk enough you may even dare to eat a bit of aong-or and impress your date!
Open 10pm – 8am
168 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road
080 679 6973 / 086 180 8028
Nud, the owner of this made-to-order Thai food stall in the Thep Mongkol Market is a cut above the rest. Serving up local Thai and northern dishes, she specialises in pork rind (that crispy pork crackling found across the city) but uses it in ways new to most palates. Her pork rind is used creatively in the popular Thai dish pad krapao as well as in stir-fries. She creates a fusion of two local flavours often not seen together on one plate. From 35 baht a dish, it’s a steal and Nud is always full of students, workers and foodies enjoying the freshly cooked dishes.
Open 7am – 8pm (Closed Saturdays)
101/29 Chang Khian Road, Thep Mongkol Market
086 008 2738 / 084 172 9972
Lung Daeng Fish Ball Noodles
One of Citylife’s favourite phrases, oodles of noodles, is perfect for Lung Daeng, who serves up a vast array of noodles and a range of soup flavours to dedicated patrons each and every day. Pork stewed for over eight hours give each of his stocks a depth and power that is smooth and addictive. His tom yum soup with pork is full of spices and the sour tart flavours of the traditional dish explodes in the mouth. His signature dish, yen ta fo, is his fish and shrimp ball noodles served with pink flat noodles that bring a colour and taste to the soup that is unmatched. Each bowl is prepared by home cooked stocks and ingredients, a place perfect for noodle lovers citywide.
Open 9am – 8pm (closed every 1st and 16th of the month)
Somnuek Place, 104/22 Nong Hoi
062 070 1155 / 098 486 8555