If there is one dish synonymous to Chiang Mai and northern Thailand, then it’s undoubtedly Khao Soi.
But what is Khao Soi?
Khao Soi is a slightly spicy curry dish that is served with either tender chicken or beef. What makes Khao Soi so unique is its firework of flavours: imagine a yellow curry broth blended with coconut milk, chilli, a dash of sugar and soy sauce. First, the bowl is filled with yellow egg noodles, followed by the above-mentioned curry broth, then, chunks of soft beef or chicken (often a drumstick), topped with crispy noodles. Khao Soi is mostly accompanied with a small plate of pickles, diced onions and chilli. Often considered as a Burmese dish, Khao Soi was actually introduced by settlers from southern China.
The dish is commonly eaten with chopsticks and a Chinese soup spoon. Portions are everywhere relatively small, it’s not rare to eat another bowl (maybe you can sample both, beef and chicken) or, as tip, order a bowl of rice along. Adding vegetables is another option, for example Fried Morning Glory or Som Tam. Round up your Khao Soi dining experience with a chilled Singha or Coke. Prices for a bowl of Khao Soi range somewhere between 40-60 THB.
There are many places in Chiang Mai to choose from – here’s our list of the best places to eat Khao Soi in Chiang Mai:
Aroon Rai is a fix establishment in Chiang Mai’s diverse culinary scene, offering Khao Soi since 1957. Yes, since 1957. The restaurant is convenient located near Thapae Gate and specializes only in northern Thai cuisine, while their Khao Soi is arguably considered as the best in Chiang Mai. Locals and foreigners alike are dining here, the lively atmosphere and friendly staff makes one to return back even more often. By the way, Aroon Rai sells even their Khao Soi broth as powder, for you easily to try at home.
Location: Thapae Gate, near McDonald’s Open: daily, 11:00-22:00
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Khao Soi Khun Yai
This mom’n’pop-style restaurant, which translates to ‘Grandma’s Khao Soi’, can be easily missed as it looks more like a small private Thai house with no English signs around. The Khao Soi here is extremely popular as its broth is very intense as oppose many others that can be often quite watery. Come before noon as it gets quickly busy here.
Location: Sri Poom Road near Wat Kuan Kama Open: Monday-Saturday, 10:00-14:00
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Khao Soi Lam Duan Fah Ham
Among locals mostly considered as one of the closest versions to its original when first introduced in Thailand. Lam Duan also offers a very rare Khao Soi version with pork. The restaurant is operating for more than 30 years, however, don’t expect any super comfy setting here; as with most other Khao Soi eateries, this is one is simple too in terms of sitting facilities. Nevertheless, the taste is amazing and the place is well worth a visit.
Location: Charoen Rat Road, near Wat Faham Open: daily, 10:00-18:00
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Khao Soi Mae Sai
The Khao Soi here is widely known for its intense flavour and rich texture. The restaurant enjoys quite some popularity and gets quickly full during lunch. To place your order, you have to take a seat and write down your desired dish (and drink) on a piece of paper and hand it to the waiter. Try also the delicious Thai Ice Tea here.
Location: Ratchaphruek Road Open: daily, 08:00-16:00
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Khao Soi Islam
This eatery is located near the famous Night Bazaar along a stretch that is known for several Muslim restaurant and groceries. Their Khao Soi is especially praised because of its authenticity to its original, which was introduced by Yunnanese Muslims. As some Khao Soi might taste similar, this one here is quite unique. Khao Soi Islam is generally a great spot to sample Muslim Thai food.
Location: Thanon Charoenprathet Open: daily (except on Friday) 10:00-18:00
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