Among all the options of where and what to eat in Chiang Mai, Khao Soi is one of my favourites.
The recipe originated near the Burmese-Thai border, which means northern Thailand is the only place where you can taste the real thing. If you’ve never had khao soi before, it is an intense and rich, soup-like noodle dish packed with lots of spices and flavour. The best khao soi has a thin cream-like base (not oily), and is served with quality cuts of beef, pork, or chicken. While spending nearly three months in Thailand, I had my share of this Thai noodle bowl and I’ve been able to nail down my 3 favourite places of where to eat khao soi in Chiang Mai.
Khao Soi Khun Yai
Translated, this mean’s Granny’s Khao Soi and you can bet this grandma does not mess around. The khao soi here is packed with lots of Thai spice (about 7 out of 10 on the runny-nose scale is fair to say) and the broth is perfectly creamy. I found the pork sometimes had one or two fatty slices but the beef is lean and tender. There are no English signs to spot this restaurant but it’s very popular and always packed with locals and farang. Seating is outdoor and eating here feels like you’re in the backyard of a small Thai house.
Where: Soi 8, Sri Poom Road. On the north side of the moat in the old city, next to Wat Khuan Kama.
Khao Soi Islam
Khao Soi Islam was recommended to us by a local Thai because “it is the most authentic khao soi you’ll ever eat”. He was right. The khao soi here is intense in flavour, rich and very creamy. Located in a muslim neighbourhood, the owners here have managed to keep the original recipe the way it should taste.
Where: Soi 1, Charoenprathet Road, near the Night Bazaar.
Khao Soi Mae Sai
My friend Tammy introduced me to Khao Soi Mae Sai, in the quiet, up-and-coming Santitham district. You have to write down your order on a piece of paper then hand it to the waiter. The khao soi is amazingly good but, oh that Thai tea! They serve up some of the best Thai tea I ever tasted.
Where: 29/1 Ratchaphuek Road
If you want to get your hands on the best khao soi in Chiang Mai, Thailand, these places will not disappoint. I highly suggest getting there before 1pm because they do sell out fast – especially when it’s damn good khao soi. Once their daily batch is gone, it’s gone.
If you’ve only got little while in Chiang Mai, a food tour with a local guide can help you pack in lots of food spots in just a few hours. Get Your Guide is the most popular site for tours in Asia like their 20 Northern Thai dish food tasting tour or Taste of Chiang Mai tour with a local.
Where we stayed in Chiang Mai
The first time we travelled to Chiang Mai we stayed at iYou Bed and Breakfast and absolutely loved it! Now, when we return we stay at least a month and rent an apartment. Read my review on iYou Bed and Breakfast.