Chiang Mai Street Food: The 8 Best Cheap Eat Spots
Last updated on February 12th, 2024 at 04:08 am
Because of the amazing Chiang Mai street food, we’ve been able to eat out every single lunch and dinner for the past three months and will continue to do so until we leave. Chiang Mai street food is some of the best in Thailand so let us show you where to find the best eight spots for your own yummy cheap eats.
Traditionally, most of the street food stalls in Chiang Mai don’t open until the evenings, but there are still plenty of daytime options. We’ve included the opening hours and addresses of each of our top picks below.
Whether you have traditional stir-fried noodles, pad thai, sticky rice, or papaya salad, or want to try some northern Thailand dishes (like Thai sausage), Chiang Mai street food has it covered for the average price of 70 baht a meal.
It doesn’t matter where you’re based in the city, you will never be far from some of the best street food in Chiang Mai.
Please don’t be worried about food poisoning. Food hygiene levels are much better than they used to be. As I said, we’ve been eating street food for three months, and we haven’t been ill once.
If you let your street food fears get the better of you, you’ll be missing out on some really tasty and cheap treats.
So in no particular order, here are our best eight Chiang Mai street food spots. Be sure to check out the map at the end so you know exactly where to find them.
1 – Chang Puak Gate (North Gate)
There’s a great selection of street food stalls on the other side of the road from Chang Puak Gate. This is the gate on the northern side of the moat so is often referred to as North Gate.
They set up every evening from around 5 pm.
We’ve eaten here many times for pad thai, chicken satay, steamed pork buns, and mango with sticky rice.
However, the most popular stall is the woman in a cowboy hat cooking slow-roasted pork leg. It really is delicious and probably the most well-known Chiang Mai street food vendor.
– Evening, all week
– Chang Phueak Gate
2 – Chiang Mai Gate (South Gate)
Similar to the North Gate street food vendors, the kitchens at Chiang Mai Gate sell mostly Thai favourites but this time with a larger selection of snacks.
The market is split into two sections. One for a bigger selection of finger food like grilled meats on a stick, spicy sausages, and fried egg rolls.
The other section serves more plates and bowls of food like traditional fried noodles and a huge selection of broths. Browse the many pots of noodle soups by lifting the lids and eat what smells best 🙂
The busiest time of the week is Saturday due to being close to the Saturday walking street market.
– Evening, all week
– Chaing Mai Gate
3 – Night Bizarre
The long-standing night bizarre houses easily the biggest selection of street food in Chiang Mai.
It’s the most touristy area of the city, so as well as street food vendors there are market stalls of all kinds, bars, restaurants, and massage shops.
The street food here is not concentrated in just one area. There are several outside and covered street food markets dotted along the whole length of Chang Klan Road.
It’s not just Thai food you’ll find here. The Chiang Mai street food scene has recently seen some new arrivals of the international and hipster kind.
These new vendors are mostly based here at the night bizarre.
Young Thai chefs are cooking quality beef burgers, pulled BBQ pork, artisan pizzas, and Italian pasta to compete with Western city food trucks.
The best place to find these is at the top end of the night bizarre in a trendy-looking courtyard equipped with camper van bars and live music.
– Evening, all week
– Chang Klan Road, East of the old town
4 – Warorot Market
Just north of the night bizarre in Chinatown, you’ll find Warorot market, one of Chiang Mai’s well-known landmarks.
This old multi-level shopping market is full of Chiang Mai street food (mostly ground floor, basement, and street side) and other items such as clothes, flowers, and handicrafts.
There aren’t too many tourists here so it’s a great experience to wander the market floor with locals to discover the real Chiang Mai.
There are a few vendors inside who serve plates of food but you’ll mostly find snacks such as sausages, steamed pork/seafood balls, and grilled chicken.
– 05:00 to 18:00, all week
– Thanon Wichayanon, East of the old town
5 – Saturday and Sunday Walking Streets
One of the big things to do in Chiang Mai is to visit one of the weekend evening walking streets.
Endless streets of lantern-lit market stalls selling everything from local artwork, handicrafts, clothes, home interiors, and toys. Amongst it all is a huge supply of some of the best street food in Chiang Mai.
You’ll pretty much see the same market stall holders on both Saturday and Sunday but the locations are different. On Saturday the market is along Soi Wua Lai to the South of the old town.
On Sunday the market is inside the old town along Soi Ratchadamnoen.
We prefer Sundays due to being inside Chiang Mai’s old town. Like the night bizarre, there is no one area to find Chiang Mai street food. Vendors are scattered throughout the market.
However, our recommendation would be to head to Wat Phan On at the Eastern end of Soi Ratchadamnoen.
This is where the largest selection of vendors are located and it’s a wonderfully unique experience to eat inside the grounds of the beautifully illuminated temple.
– evening, Saturday and Sunday
– Saturday: Soi Wua Lai, South of the old town. Sunday: Soi Ratchadamnoen, old town.
6 – Siri Wattana & Thanin Markets
Not many people, especially tourists, know about Siri Wattana & Thanin markets. We only do this due to our apartment being just around the corner. It’s our local! 🙂
Siriwattana & Thanin markets consist of two open-air covered markets about 1km north of North Gate in an area called Santitham.
One market is full of fresh takeaway items like packaged curries, noodles, and soups; plus fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, meats, and sweets.
The other is a huge canteen of Chiang Mai street food kitchens selling just about every Thai meal going.
At lunchtime, Siriwattana & Thanin markets are busy with locals.
Our favourite vendors are Duck Noddle, selling duck noodles, obviously, and a nameless salad kitchen that make the tastiest papaya salads.
This is another street food spot where you can experience the real Ching Mai so we strongly recommend it.
– 06:00 to 21:00 (some vendors close earlier), all week.
– Soi Thanin, Santitham
7 – Kad Suan Kaew
Another of our best street food in Chiang Mai spots is out the front of the Kad Suan Kaew shopping centre.
You’ll find it on Thanon Huaykaew, just a five-minute walk from the North-Western corner of the old city wall. It’s another evening Chiang Mai street food market but open only from Thursday to Saturday.
Around 50 street food vendors cook all kinds of Thai food and some sell dishes that we haven’t seen anywhere else in Chiang Mai.
These include beansprout omelette wraps, mushroom hot pots, and fried spinach. Very tasty!
Whilst you can get fresh seafood at many of the more attractive street food stalls, where else are you going to get fresh fried squid egg?
The stalls don’t have their own seating areas like most Chiang Mai street food spots. Instead, there’s a communal seating area where there’s often a guy playing the guitar and a line of massage chairs.
– evening, Thursday to Saturday
– Thanon Huaykaew, North-West of the old town.
8 – Maya Shopping Mall
The food vendors at the Mia Shopping Mall are not actually on the street or even outside, but we include them in this post because it’s still a great spot to eat more of the best street food in Chiang Mai.
The food is just as good and the prices just as cheap so we often eat there if in the area. Usually, before we catch a film at the SFX Cinema.
Maya Shopping Mall is at the top of Nimmanahaeminda Road, a new area popular with expats and tourists. Trendy Nimman is to the West of the old town, 25 minutes on foot or 5 minutes by vehicle.
There’s not a huge amount of Chiang Mai street food in Nimman but there’s enough inside the mall to satisfy any street food lover.
There are two food levels inside the mall. Level 4 has a cute and colourful pretend Asian food market area with a good selection of kitchens and little stalls to sit on.
Busier level B1 (Basement) has even more kitchens in another imitation market environment. The Kao Soy soup here gets a big thumbs up from us!
– all day and evening, all week.
– Maya Shopping Mall, cross road junction with Nimmanahaeminda Road and Thanon Huaykaew.
Book our recommended Chiang Mai food tours now!
- Chiang Mai 4-Hour Food Adventure by Bike
- Chiang Mai’s Food Adventure with a Local Guide
- A Taste of Chiang Mai Small Group Tour with a Local
We hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of our eight best street food markets in Chiang Mai. There are much more Chiang Mai street food stalls but we can’t possibly include them all.
These eight are scattered throughout the city so at least one should be near to wherever you choose to stay. Enjoy!