Burps That Hurt – Street Food in Chiang Mai

In Food, Thailand

everything on sticks. we even found chicken nuggets on a stick.

street market worowong market
Worowot street market in Chiang Mai - just follow your nose.

The eating habits of Thai people are very different from what we are used to. Here, people eat 6 or 7 times a day – eating a lot of small meals, instead of the 3 food-loading sessions a day. That’s why food can be found on just about every street. There are even food outlets inside supermarkets over here.

Searching for food. Got our best men on the job. Cale and Ryan.

To find street food Chiang Mai, you should first hire a bicycle from your guesthouse or any of the shops that rent them out (40 baht per day). Breakfast, lunch, dinner can often be found at different street food markets, and some street vendors only operate at certain times of the day. It wont take too long to find a street full of tasty meats being grilled, salads made and customers fed.

smells good.

Northern thailand is known for a couple of dishes in particular:

  • Chiang Mai sausage – full of pork, ginger, garlic, chillies and a whole bunch of spices. WARNING: eating these sausages produces the kind of burps that brings tears to eyes, peels the paint off walls, and in Asha’s case, makes pretty girls embarrassed that yes, they made that smell.
  • Kao Soi – A very rich yellow coconut milk curry, topped with fried noodles.

From what we could see, the food here seems richer and probably more meat focused than down south. The issan influence from the North-East and Laos can be seen.

Strips of sweet fried pork (called Moo Tot - but I'm sure that's not how it is spelt). This is where you will find me.

Fish sauce, dried shrimp and fish, and fishy pastes are all still heavily used – as in the old days they would keep and could be transported from the coast. There are plenty of local river fish on sale – many species I have never heard of, and from some dubious water sources. I ate a local serpenthead fish one night a a restaurant down by the river – but whether that is what was actually served to me I wasn’t sure. It was a inoffensive fish, nice flesh but little flavour, and more than a few bones.

everything on sticks. we even found chicken nuggets on a stick.
squid sticks
Walking street market prawn toast orange juice
Shopping snack at the Saturday night walking market - fried prawn toasts and fresh tangy orange juice.
The world's best pork buns.

Papaya Salad (Som Tam) and sticky rice

Meat on a stick isn’t a meal on its own (well, it has been many times for us). But fear not, the perfect accompaniments can be found at the market as well.

Pounding up some papaya

The absolute staple of northern Thailand and Laos food is sticky rice – glutinous rice, that is soaked in water for a few hours, before being steamed in a bamboo basket. I can eat sticky rice all day long – Asha’s favourite meal seems to be sticky rice and tomato sauce.


asha + som tam = happy

Grab a bag of sticky rice and a delicious green-papaya salad to add to your meat-sticks, and you have your self one hell of a meal, all for a couple of bucks.

Over and out,



  1. Your blog has led me to believe your cuIinary tastes have expanded, but…….sticky rice and tomato sauce??? Some things never change!
    We are gearing up for Easter. Em arrives tomorrow and we are having a family brunch on Sunday. Grandma will keep your Easter card until you return.
    We had a lovely week at Rainbow Beach with Damon and Claire and Harvey. Not doing much but stayed in a lovely house and John and Damon had fun trying out the new boat. Not too many fish caught but a couple of crabs which made good sandwiches. The beach is just beautiful. I’m sure it’s up to Thai standards withut the hordes of people.
    Great to read about all your adventures. Where are yu off to next?
    Keep safe,
    Lots of love,
    mum and John xxx

    • Hi Mum,

      Yes we have tried lots of different dishes but I never said that my loyalties would sway from my beloved sticky rice and tomatoes sauce.

      We’re in Laos now after a few days floating down the river on the slow boat. You would have loved it- plenty to see along the banks of the mighty mekong. Jungle, little nude kids running down the sand banks, people fishing and farming buffalo. It’s a pumping place! In Laos and they love sticky rice even more than the Thais. Apparently it was first grown here too! I have done a holy pilgrimage without even knowing it. Didi you know that apparently they ground up sticky rice and used it as mortar on the great wall of China? so many uses….

      Anyway hope you have a lovely easter. we’re missing you and easter time (ie. chocolate..)

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