As we bid farewell to the beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters of Phuket, we headed north to the slightly more urban city of Chiang Mai. Known for its its devotion to the culinary arts of Thai cuisine, we knew we’d be in for a treat. After a few days, it was sad to say goodbye to the warmth of the people and their love of food.
After a two hour flight from Phuket, we arrived in time for lunch at the first stop on our foodie map. Recommended by multiple fellow travelers, the khao soil at Lamduan was everything it was hyped up to be. A local favorite, khao soil is a noodle dish served in broth and accompanied by a protein. We decided to try the chicken, beef and fish varieties. With their own distinct flavors, each was so good we were tempted to lick the bowls dry. Savorily satisfied, we hopped on a tuk tuk and headed to a local market for some fresh fruit and locally prepared dessert. Our eyes were drawn to the spectrum of rainbow colored local fruit. After some site seeing and a foot massage, we were off to the Anukul market for shopping and dinner. Souvenirs purchased, we took seat at a local seafood restaurant right in the heart of the market. A few changs on the table, we selected a fish and lobster from the array among the ice beds to be grilled for us. As we awaited our crustacean feast, we sampled a few local dishes, such as the grilled oysters with a black bean sauce, and vermicelli with blue crab. Everything was so flavorful, that not even our burning mouths could stop us from finishing every last spicy bite.
The next morning we were off to the Elephant Nature Park. After a few hours of feeding, cleaning, and hanging out with the rescued elephants, we were treated to a buffet style lunch of local northern Thai dishes. Even with limited resources, each dish was abundant with flavor. The experiences of the day left a lasting impression and love for our cute elephant friends. Back in Chiang Mai that evening, we headed to an expat favorite, Riverside. A meal to feed a small army, we could not help selecting a few local dishes and two whole fish ones prepared to perfection. With no sticky rice and mango on the menu, we hopped in tuck tuk and headed to a local market to attend to our craving.
Next day it was time to learn how all of our favorite Thai dishes are prepared. Again by recommendation, we booked a day long cooking class with A Lot of Thai. Run by the sweetest foodie, Yui, she beamed with passion as she took us through the ins and outs of Thai food. As we cooked and tried six dishes, we only hoped to find the ingredients back home to replicate our efforts.
Our last day in Chiang Mai began with a half marathon run. An opportunity we could not pass up, the experience was unforgettable. With a start time of 5am, we were off, circling the old town of Chiang Mai, and crossing over the finish line 2 hours later. After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, and some poolside relaxing, it was time to check out the Sunday market. A little more souvenir shopping left us starving for local food, and so we took seat at a few small chairs and indulged in a variety of local street food dishes. For less than a few dollars, it was some of the best food we had tasted thus far.
As we close out the chapter on Thailand, only good memories remain of the friendly people, and incredibly delicious food. Next stop-Hanoi, Vietnam.
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