Escape to Chiang Mai

Food is such a big thing in Thailand for us while we are away. Thai food is often spicy and incorporates 5 flavours; sweet, sour, spicy, salty and bitter, good examples of which are papaya salad and TomYam soup. Rice is often served alongside dishes to counteract the spicier moments and if you have rice and meat you get a bowl of bone broth too, bonus.

We eat out twice a day so food is the most talked about activity on the agenda; where, what, no more noodles/rice/soup/pork it’s an ongoing conversation. We mostly make our own breakfast; muesli fruit and yoghurt and occasionally do scrambled eggs, beans or avocado on toast when we want comfort food. Or we might go to a very good bakery run by a French guy and buy ‘to die for’ croissants and danish loveliness. We have a toaster, kettle, fridge in our room and a microwave downstairs in the hotel reception so you can do some things but not much.

There is a fresh food market about every mile in the city and our local one sells all sorts of food.

Chiang Mai spicy sausage, a local specialty

Even mealworms are on the menu!

It has very fresh salad on a salad bar which has pulses, beans, fresh cooked sweet corn, sprouting beans, assorted leaves tomatoes, veggies lots of great, fresh produce. It costs 100 baht (£2.20) per kilo, good value. We normally spend 80baht and buy an avocado and some chicken or fish for a good, healthy lunch.

You can buy many different dishes on the market you put it in a bag and eat it at home, mostly around 50p. There are vegetarian, tofu, meat, fish, offal, lots of choice on lots of stalls. They are made at the market in enormous big woks and great to watch the young guys who cook. You can buy rice 5 baht, easy peasy.

They sell a huge assortment of fruits and veggies, spices, herbs, sauces, desserts and all other ingredients. Around the edge of the market are small shops selling nuts and dried fruits, flowers and all other things.

I could wander round them for hours, people want to chat it’s not easy to leave…they don’t mind their photo taken either, as you can probably see, they all know how to pose for the camera.

There is a street food market just round the corner from the hotel (they are all over the city) who do a great spicy papaya salad and assorted cooked meats; duck, sausages, crispy chicken, meat and veggies bbq on sticks, fish, soup, Chinese dumplings, sweet rotis with honey and bananas. There is no end of stuff to eat and it’s all very cheap.

The vendors often have a few tables and chairs so you can eat there or take it back to the hotel. You are sat on a busy chaotic main road which sometimes can be well worth doing just watching the world go by.

We found ourselves at the biggest wholesale market in Chiang Mai where a lot of the restaurants and smaller market traders go. Couldn’t believe the pick up trucks almost full to the brim with cabbages, garlic, yard long beans, salad and ginger with the owners asleep on top of the piles.

The meat sections are interesting if you like anatomy or Gunther Von Hagen. There are pigs faces, whole pigs heads, lots of intestines and a few bits you rarely see, alien bits of something or other. It can seem very surreal a happy smiling face arising from behind a pile of pairs of pigs ears just with the foreheads attached, very strange. Didn’t get a photo of that, too traumatised. Apologies to my vegetarian friends for what’s coming next……

I don’t particularly like the strong earthy cloying smell of blood and guts so I don’t stay long. I do admire the way the Thai’s eat every part of the animal and relish it. I inadvertently ate (peer pressure really) bbq intestines, quite tasty and a black beetle like insect which was just salty and a bit mushy. The legs stuck in my teeth, I’ve had better experiences.

If you want high class dining there is a restaurant called ‘ David’s kitchen’: It’s in the worlds top 10 restaurants, Michelin starred and reasonable in the scheme of things ie less than £120 for a proper blow out with drinks for 2.

There’s also everything imbetween… can get Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern food you name it and you can get it. When you get fed up with noodles and rice why not.

We try to eat mostly Thai food. It’s mostly better, cheaper and there is so much competition in Chiang Mai to produce good eating it’s probably the best food in Thailand it would be crazy not to. The ingredients are always über fresh. Sometimes after ordering what you want you see someone go out on the scooter and 5 minutes later are back with a big bag of veggies or meat from one of the many markets. No one is rushing…’s all very chilled.

”One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”

Virginia Woolf

2 thoughts on “Escape to Chiang Mai

  1. It’s easily the best,freshest,tastiest,abundant, and affordable food scene I’ve ever experienced! Served by smiling sweet people 😊 Thanks for tugging me down memory lane 😘

    Liked by 1 person

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