Escape to Chiang Mai

We talk about food more often than anything else on a daily basis. We make our own breakfast but still eat out twice a day over 3 months (180 meals out) so it’s a real problem; which eatery of the few hundred, literally within a square mile shall we go to, what do you fancy? Noodles, rice or western? We generally prefer Thai food, the small local chefs in our village who can knock up amazing food, freshly cooked, from scratch at lightning speed for very little money, on average just over a £1 meal. We often eat here in the evenings.

We like morning glory; it’s like skinny kale stir fried with chillies and garlic, yum. Tea leaf salad from Burma is also delicious…

So if you wanted to push the hungry boat out a meal each; Penang/green curry and rice, vegetarian/chicken pad Thai and a big vegetable side dish for less than £3 for 2 people.

Fresh and healthy. If you have meat or fish it’s small portions of only 50g or so. You can eat much cheaper than that if you want to eat on the street food stalls or markets. 50p a meal.

I have eaten more noodle soup this year than ever before and at the moment my favourites are;

Beef Khao Soy; succulent long cooked tender beef, spicy beefy stock with egg noodles, bean sprouts and crispy noodles on top. Served with pickled veggies, lime and onion. From our local market.

‘Noodle soup with choice of noodles, rice or egg, wide or skinny. char Sui pork, pork balls veggies and bean sprouts.

Tom yum soup with chicken or prawn. Noodles, bean sprouts, peanuts, veggies, chilli. Our local eatery makes the best and have shown me how. I have also made my own under their supervision.

This dish incorporates all the umami flavours. Sweet, sour, spicy, salty and bitter. My mouth is watering as I write. Santitham Breakfast was our favourite place to eat, great quality food and lovely people.

Pad Krepow chicken or pork cooked with holy basil and chilli, one of my favourites especially with a fried egg

Succulent pork leg with rice and steamed kale/greens. With every rice dish you get a bowl of broth.

Roast pork in cubes with deep crispy dry crackling, really spicy with shallots and mint. It’s called Lab Moo grob and is very gorgeous but can’t sensibly eat too often. Som Tum which is unripe papaya, shredded with chilli, lime, peanuts, bean sprouts, long beans and tomatoes, hot. Chicken and cashew nuts

They also sell huge chunks of pork cooked like this at all markets, it’s a real staple. So is pork crackling it’s a specialty of Chiang Mai.

Whole baked salt crusted fish (tilapia)

Fish in every way as well as crab, prawns, squid every seafood and shellfish you can imagine. Tentacles and claws peeping out at you…

Fruit is abundant and cheap. A big bag of prepared fruits; pineapple, melon, green guava are 50p with a small bag of chilli sugar to dip it in, I’m hooked; dragon fruit, mangosteen, jujube a whole host of tropical fruits are available on every market. The sweetest oranges, avocados, bananas piled high everywhere.

We are in our last week in Thailand. We’ve done the flower festival

seen many friends and been out for dinner with all of them. Stayed out in ‘rice world’ with our friends David and Nuy. 10 pin bowling, there were 9 of us it was good fun. We visited the Botanical gardens

drove out into the mountains and saw elephants, lots of them, it’s been fab.

We meet more people every year, it’s highly addictive. The hotel we stay in has many long stay guests, it’s a bit like The Marigold Hotel, we have made many friends from all over the world. The people, food and climate is amazing. They are very honest, honourable people you can leave things; bags, phones, purses anything on a table and wander off for 20 minutes and it’s still there when you come back. There are a few downsides; the pollution is getting worse in January and February. The traffic is chaotic. Our small Thai village is getting popular and gentrified, we now have 3 bars opened very close to the hotel so it’s not the quiet enclave it was. Things change a lot! It won’t stop us returning but we may only come for a month in November or December then escape to Vietnam and go backpacking again, travelling light on maybe a bigger bike. We feel we need a new adventure and to get out on the road somewhere new. The adventure continues…

6 thoughts on “Escape to Chiang Mai

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