While most late night food venues around town used to cater to the post-club crowds, there are still some places you can go to grab a bite after the witching hour…should the munchies hit.
As a Citylife intern, I left my elders to bed and headed off one night to explore Chiang Mai’s late night foodscape…or what is left of it, braving the dark to bring you this review.
1. Larb Bunker (there are two branches)
The first one on the Old Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road is an iconic Chiang Mai food destination, long beloved by late-night-cramming students across the city. Well known for its authentic Lanna food and decent prices, Larb Bunker’s first branch sits on the Old Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road while the second branch is in Sri Phum. Both branches serve up small tasty portions of northern dishes, with the Lamphun Road branch starting at 10 baht a dish and the city branch starting at a higher 20 baht a dish – hard to complain. If you don’t want to brave the crowds then definitely stay away during the exam weeks as late night crammers tend to seek out a bite to keep their energy going and eyes open. Larb Bunker is often listed as one of the top ten authentic Lanna restaurants in the city.
Larb Bunker 1
168 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road
Open daily: 4pm-9pm (Closed on Mondays)
Larb Bunker 2
254 Sri Phum Sub-district
Open Daily: 4pm-11.59pm (Closed on Sundays)
2. Paper Noodles
This noodle shop located in Chang Phuek food Market inside the old city, serves up – slightly sweet and oily –fried egg noodles served with several side dishes such as garlic chicken and roasted red pork. They also serve side dishes with rice including the popular rice topped with stir-fried pork and basil. This restaurant was well known amongst the late-night party people in Chiang Mai. Today it is mainly students who come here as it is cheap, serves large portions and importantly open late. The owner is very nice and always welcoming. The prices of dishes start at 20 baht. They are open every day from 12am till 9am.
3. Auntie Fruity’s Fried Meatballs
We love this hawker stall run by Auntie Fruity which sells an assortment of fried snacks such as meatballs, sausages, nuggets, and even cheese balls. Crispy fried in a small pot, the misnamed Auntie Fruity put away her fruit stall ten years ago to serve students the far less healthy, but far more popular fried bites. Auntie Fruity is a beloved personality, well known amongst CMU students past and present due to her kindness and friendliness.
Importantly, the seafood sauce that she makes by herself is very well known and beloved due to its hot taste. Don’t worry, there are also sweet and mild sauces for those who can’t handle the heat. What many find rather astounding about Auntie Fruity’s stall is that there are often queues up to TWO hours long for her crispy fried goodies! Since she started selling after midnight, you can find yourself still waiting for your order as the sun begins to think about waking up.
And to add to the frustration, Auntie fruity only comes when she feels like it; so she is definitely not a sure thing. Her ‘keep ‘em guessing’ approach to business seems to be working, however, as mid-pandemic and she still has lines of students waiting through the night.
[Tip: As regular customers, we have figured out that she normally comes every other day.] If you are interested in trying this famed meatball stall, you may have to follow her Facebook page (ป้าฟรุตตี้หอสวนดอก) to check whether she is serving tonight or not. There are also several delicious drinks available on some days. Everything costs under 15 baht. Suan Dok Dormitory is where she always comes to set up for sale.
4. Kanomwan Chang Moi
If you are yearning for something sweet after dark then this shaved ice dessert in Chang Moi is it. Serving refreshing shaved ice, they offer you a choice of over 30 toppings, so you can have some serious fun with it! Whatever you want – canned fruits, Thai desserts, healthy grains or naughty sweets, the choice is yours. If you find the syrup too sweet you can ask for a less sweet option. Sit by the roadside, sip and slurp and watch the world (or, these days, occasional car) go by. Free ice and tea available for all customers, and all for under 100 baht.
Kanomwan Chang Moi
169 Chang Moi Sub-district
Open daily: 12pm-1am (Mondays to Thursdays)
12pm-2am (Fridays to Saturdays) and 5pm-1am (Sundays)
Facebook page: https://th-th.facebook.com/Thaidessertcnx/