a bare bones approach to a city dining guide

1 | navigate below by cuisine, location, establishment type, or price range.
2 | get out there and enjoy.

these are raw notes. the 'notables' are what I likely order each time I go to the posted establishment. if there is a website, I link to it for more information [and for your convenience].

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burmese restaurant

The burmese restaurant is a nameless hole-in-the-wall on Nimanhaemin. What lacks in decor is made up for in cuisine. Just as the name implies, the restaurant offers simply good food without all the fluff and facade of most Niman restaurants. The random posters taped to white-wash walls and searing fluorescent lights add to its quirky charm. A great new wall addition is an adaptation of J. Howard Miller's "We Can Do It!" poster with Aung San Syuu Kyi as the heroine icon.
Located across from soi 13, the unassuming restaurant sits on a corner, a few steps from the 7-11. Patrons can order standard Thai dishes a la carte in addition to what's offered on the burmese menu.


notables | tea leaves salad. bean soup. pennyworth salad. burmese tea.


vieng joom on

You can't miss the bright exterior of Vieng Joom On. In Northern Thai, vieng means wooden fort, and joom on, pink.
And pink it is.
A teahouse in femme fatigue, the crisp pink and white linens gracenote cushioned wicker and floral pillows galore. The three-storey establishment cozies along the Ping River and is a good choice for a light lunch or afternoon snack.
The all-เจ menu offers dainty selections with modest portions. It's quality, not quantity.
Vieng Joom On rightfully boasts a grandiose selection of teas: chinese green and black, rooibos, fruit, masala chai, herbal, the list goes on. Canisters of loose tea leaves line the entrance wall behind friendly staff who immediately wai in greeting, all ready for a la carte purchases. For those in need of retail therapy, hit the giftshop on the first floor.


notables | crepe with creamy tomato sauce, sprinkled with sliced almonds. mushroom strudel [mushroom and cream sauce wrapped in crispy filo pastry]. apple and prune filo dessert.

note | this is definitely a place to re-visit.

*Apologies for the somewhat janky photos - all I had was my mobile phone camera.


le spice

Of all the indian restaurants I've tried in Chiang Mai, Le Spice is my favourite. This place identifies as an indian, thai, and seafood restaurant. My suggestion: go indian.
The sets start at 99 baht and generally include two curries, a dahl, raita, papadum and rice. If you're with a group of people, it's always fun to order a number of dishes a la carte and share. Just think, the more people you're with, the more dishes you can try.
The menu is extensive. To aid the selection process, decide what kind of curry you're in the mood for [vindaloo, masala, saag, etc.] and then choose the meat/vegetable [chicken, mutton, beef, fish, paneer, etc].
To get there, drive down the night bazaar road and about midway you'll see the Kalare complex on your left. There is a Doi Chaang Coffee at the end of the complex. Turn immediately left down the soi and you'll see the brightly-lit Le Spice sign on the right.


notables |
fish tikka. malai kofta [vegetable balls in a creamy curry]. vindaloo and/or masala [fish, chicken, mutton, you decide]. saag paneer [homemade indian cheese in spinach curry]. bengan bharta [eggplant curry]. any rice biriyani. lots of garlic naan. le spice naan [addition of dried fruit, coconut = funky].

sweet notables | kulfi [spiced rice ice cream]. kheer [indian rice pudding].

note | definitely vegetarian-friendly.


the duke's

For western cravings and a western appetite, go to The Duke's. And perhaps wear your stretchy pants.
The portions are generous, so try to save room for dessert. Although I'm not a huge meat eater, I've heard the steak and ribs are tasty.
The Duke's is family friendly and a good place to relish appetizers between friends. Count on full tables during peak dinner hours.
There are two locations: one along the Ping River not far from Rimping Supermarket, and a newer branch in the Night Bazaar. I stay true to the Ping River location - cheaper prices and away from the tourist commotion of the Night Bazaar area. For Hang Dong-ers, a third location is due to open in Kad Farang very soon. Whichever location you choose, don't be surprised if you feel like rolling yourself out the door.


notables | the big nacho. warm spinach salad [all salads are served with crusty foccacia bread]. a bowl of homemade chili. pizza [huge and you can choose your own toppings]

sweet notables | monster chocolate chip cookie [ask your server to warm it up first...mmm]. warm brownie a la mode.

liquid refreshment |
cold stein of Salvator beer.


เจ food stall - payap canteen

Since the opening of this vegetarian food stall, the Payap canteen has become a viable, and even select, option for lunch. Once upon a time, we used to venture the canteen as a last resort. But these days, I often look forward to lunch at the newly renovated 'Manna Food Center.' I even find myself craving the mock roasted red pork and duck, and will do anything for the fried mushrooms. Although it is still pretty much unbearable during hot season, the canteen itself has undergone some improvements in terms of atmosphere. Among the sparse food stall selections, this veg spot is a saving grace among slim pickings.
The stall is located at Payap University's Mae Khao campus, behind Carrefour off of the superhighway. Upon entering the campus, the canteen is on your right. Look for the typical yellow เจ signage.


notables | everything. especially the fried mushrooms.

khun churn

Khun Churn is a Chiang Mai staple. Located on soi 17 off Nimanhaemin, seating under a trademark tin roof provides an outdoor atmosphere for friendly facestuffing. You can also choose to sit indoors, but beware if it's rainy season. I've sat inside during torrential rainfall and water actually leaked from the light fixtures.
The lunch buffet, anytime between 11:30-2:00pm, is decent. Less than 100 baht for a plethora of vegetarian, เจ [jay], dishes, plus your choice of an herbal beverage. Otherwise, Khun Churn offers a vegetarian friendly breakfast menu and/or reasonably priced dinner selections. I don't think I've ever ordered something I didn't like.


notables | mushroom & seaweed omelette [หอยทอด or huay tod]. fresh spring rolls [ปอเปี้ยะสด or popiah sod]. pomelo salad [ยำส้มโอ or yum som-o]. sizzling mushroom plate. fried potatoes with garlic and cilantro. lemongrass beverage [น้ำตะไคร้ or naam tda-krai].