By Ally, Savvi's growth manager (originally from her blog SpreadSomeSun)
Chiang Mai is a city full of markets. We were lucky enough to be in the city over a weekend so we set off to the Sunday Walking Street, a food and goods market on Ratchadamnoen Road from 4-10 pm.
The options for food are endless; there are dozens of food stands lined up and down the streets and in the temple courtyards. The past few times we visited markets, we came up with the idea having our own "food tour" where we would go from stand to stand trying a little bit of everything. We finally decided to live out this idea in Chiang Mai! In addition to eating amazing food, we also did it in under 450 baht* (~$14) between the three of us, so under $5 dollars a piece for 8 different types of food. Can't beat it. Here's a rundown of our self-proclaimed food tour!
*33 baht is about $1
Fried Noodles (10 baht each)
This mini banana boat filled noodle dish was a perfect start to our evening of eats. Although the flavor was mild, this little dish was a good starter, topped with cilantro and onion crisps. These tiny bowls were too cute and miniature not to try.
Thai Fruit Juice (20 baht each)
One of my favorite aspects of the cuisine in Asia is the availability of fresh fruit. I've had countless (no exaggeration) smoothies but hadn't yet tried fruit juice. I was not disappointed! I tried the mango avocado juice and finished it in under a minute, granted the portions are way smaller over here, it was that good.
Stuffed Banana Leaves (10 baht for a set of 3)
This dish was one of my favorites. At this point in the night, a little pop of flavor was all we needed. This triangular stuffed banana leaf was filled with peanuts, onions, ginger, chilis and lime. I don't handle spice very well, so one triangle was the perfect amount. In the Thai kitchen, banana leaves are used in many different ways. They act as plates, bowls (shown above), and containers- such an awesome natural substitute.
BBQ'd Scallops (150 baht for 4)
Before I came to Asia I figured I would be eating a ton of seafood here, but to my surprise, I haven't tried much. Once we passed this seafood BBQ stand the three of us decided we needed to take advantage of the opportunity to eat some seemingly normal looking fish. The scallops were topped with some type of sauce, scallions and red peppers, set on a bed of glass noodles. We were really happy with our decision to finally eat some seafood.
Samosas (25 baht for a set of 3)
When a food stand is selling a set of 3 crispy samosas for under $1, you really have no choice but to buy some. These tasty samosas were stuffed with a spiced potato filling, with strong hints of curry and cumin. I love the practical presentation of this dish. They put the 3 samosas in a small plastic bag, cover them with whichever sauce you choose, and give you 3 skewers to eat with. A perfect example of a different but practical method I've noticed in Asia.
Strange Vegan Bites (20 baht for a set of 3)
We're always attracted to any eateries that have vegan or vegetarian in the name (none of us eat meat) so naturally we were drawn to this stand. We quickly found out this wasn't you're average vegetarian spot. Honestly, I don't even know what to call the dish, especially since we didn't really understand the woman who was serving. I was able to interpret that it was something with onions in it. Feeling a little adventurous, we ordered a plate. Definitely a weird texture but interesting to try something totally foreign to us.
Pad Thai (30 baht for each serving- we got 3)
For our main dish we decided to go with the traditional pad thai. It tasted similar to what we've had in the past but was delicious nonetheless. I'm curious to try pad thai when I get home to see how it compares.
Mango Sticky Rice (60 baht for 1 serving shared)
After all of that delicious food, of course we needed to end with something sweet. Mango sticky rice is the traditional dessert in Thailand. It's typically presented as a mango, served on a bed of white sticky rice, coated with coconut milk. Mangos became my new favorite fruit here in Asia. Not kidding, it's not a normal day if I don't have something with mango in it, be it sticky rice, a smoothie, a plain mango, whatever!
Clearly, we did not go hungry in Chiang Mai. I'm typically not a super adventurous eater, but trying all sorts of Asian food has been a highlight of my trip. It's easy to be reluctant to try something new, but it's just as easy to say hell with it and step out of your typical diet comfort zone. I think I'm going to start having self-proclaimed food tours more often because why not! We're taking a cooking class in a Chiang Mai so soon hopefully I'll be able to whip up some of these delicious dishes (emphasis on hopefully). More on that to come. Happy eating!