After spending time in Phuket down in Southern Thailand, we headed up north to Chiang Mai. We were so excited about our first day in Chiang Mai. For one, it’s radically different from Phuket—Phuket is on the coast, while Chiang Mai is up in the mountains. For another, Chiang Mai is the hub of northern Thai cuisine, and we were so hungry upon arriving.
To appease the hunger, we had a sampling of traditional northern Thai food at Huen Jai Yong. After that, to cap our first day in Chiang Mai, we experienced the city’s oh-so-popular Sunday Walking Street Night Market.
Dining tapas-style at Huen Jai Yong
If you want to experience traditional northern Thai cuisine, Huen Jai Yong is one of the best places for it in Chiang Mai. The food in this restaurant is as authentic as it gets. Huen Jai Yong has a rustic vibe, and this charming rusticity only highlights the food even more.
We had a tapas-style meal here. This means food a-plenty served in smaller plates and great for sharing. Among the dishes we ordered are nam prik num, which is a chili relish. We also had pork rinds, pork stew, northern-style sausages, chicken wings, fried pork, stir-fried Chinese cabbage with oyster sauce, and fermented omelet.
After our meal, we left the restaurant with our tummies full and satisfied and our energy level high.
Hitting the Sunday Walking Street Night Market
Boosting our energy level with food from Huen Jai Yong had a purpose. And that’s to fuel our exploration of Chiang Mai’s famous Sunday Walking Street Night Market.
The Sunday Walking Street Night Market is one of Chiang Mai’s top tourist attractions. As its name suggests, it’s open on Sundays, from 4 PM to midnight. About a mile of the stretch between Tha Pae to Ratchadamneon Road in Chiang Mai Old Town is closed to motor traffic, and the stalls take over.
I really wanted my Soul Foodies to have this unique shopping experience. In fact, I planned this first day in Chiang Mai so we could visit the night market. For one, it has all of my favorite things—from handicrafts to food to clothes and jewelry. There are so many things to see that my eyes kept going left-right, left-right. For another, it’s always a good thing to support local entrepreneurs. They run the stalls in this night market, and shopping here props up Chiang Mai’s industries.
Shopping isn’t the only thing you can do in the Sunday Walking Street Night Market, of course. You can watch street performers sing and play music. You can dine on street food like dim sum, fried tofu, fish maw soup, fish balls, and grilled chicken skewers. Or you can just hang around and enjoy the vibe.
This first day in Chiang Mai has gone perfectly well. I couldn’t have planned it any better.
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