Guide to Chiang Mai Cuisine
There are numerous foreign but original restaurants serving Italian, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, Pakistani and Arabic cuisine. In addition, vegetarian restaurants are also available. For Thai food lovers, there are hundreds of restaurants serving central, northeastern, and southern Thai cuisine.
There are also hundreds of street vendors selling a wide range of food, which are inexpensive. Popular items are barbecued chicken, pork and squid. These are great places to savor the local foods but make sure they are well cooked.
The people of Chiang Mai take pride in their distinctive and unique cuisine. The northern people traditionally sit on the floor eating food placed on a low table. This type of dining arrangement is known as khan toke.
Local residents generally prefer steamed sticky rice to cooked rice. The rice is accompanied by Kaeng (curry) or Nam Phrik (chili paste) and vegetables (fresh or boiled). The two more popular chili pastes are: Nam Phrik Ong (chili paste with minced pork and tomatoes) and Nam Phrik Num (green chili paste).
As a melting pot for various cultures and peoples including Thai, Lao, Burmese, Mon, and Chinese, one could only expect Lanna cuisine to be a divine blend of tastes and spices to deliver a truly unique flavor. Like the Northeasterners (Isarn), the Northern Thai prefer sticky rice over steamed rice, dipping it into one of the tantalizing soups and sauces made from herbs, fruits, and vegetable grown and picked in the local hills and forests.
Authentic Lanna cuisine finds a fine balance in combining the right amount of vegetables, herbs, and meats, though pure vegan or vegetarian dishes are quite common. While pork and poultry are abundant as elsewhere in Thailand, the preferred meat is beef, and if you fancy, Water buffalo beef is served as a delicacy, served in mouth watering stew, or a local style, raw beef salad.