The Best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai
"Noodle sojourns in the North."
THE 5 BEST KHAO SOI IN CHIANG MAI
1. Khao Soi Prince
2. Khao Soi Lorn Prakit Kad Gorm
3. Khao Soi Mae Sai
4. Khao Soi Lam Duan Faham
5. Khao Soi Mueang Klaeng
The hunt for Chiang Mai's best Khao Soi.
Whether it's ramen, phô, thukpa, laksa, beef noodle soup, khao soi or anything else involving noodles and some sort of broth, i'm willing to give it a go. In fact, whilst visiting various countries on my yearly retreat, I make a point of finding ramen or phô places in the most bizarre locations (Odesa, Ukraine) just to see what the locals have done to these regional variants. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the time i'm faced with the prospect of politely finishing a mediocre bowl, but sometimes... just sometimes you really come up trumps. For this reason alone, the fire keeps burning, and the disappointments only act as a slight speedbump on the highway to the perfect bowl.
During my 8 week stay in Chiang Mai, obviously Khao Soi was high on the agenda. Having eaten many a good bowl here over the years, but arriving to find two of my old favourites shut down, I had to start again from scratch and get stuck in reading reviews, articles, interviews and of course, asking locals. From a myriad of different sages I managed to scratch together a list of spots to visit in between other restaurants, and came up with my "Best of" list below. In all transparency, I tried 14 different Khao Soi places but only mentioned my favourites. I don't like to focus on the bad ones, but I'd advise any tourist to avoid Khao Soi Nimman. It's diabolical. Literal TRASH.
Taste is completely subjective, and for the reasons some people loved one restaurant, I favoured another. C'est la vie! Let the bowl crushing commence:
The best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai !
The local gem
Khao Soi MUEANG KLAENG
A stonesthrow from the North Gate, this uber-local gem serves up some excellent Khao Soi. The overall vibes are a little too sweet for me, but it's well worth tracking down.
Khao Soi Lam Duan
Housed in a large, old wooden building this Khao Soi institution is barely a skip from the ever popular (and too sweet) Samerjai. I ordered the chicken bowl. A cold glass of water was produced, and ten short minutes later a bowl set before my eyes. It looked good. Personal taste aside this was a very good bowl of Khao Soi, however, for me it was a tad on the sweet side too. The curry sauce was packed with flavour and had a slightly thicker consistency, but lacked the altogether luxurious depth of Prince.
Khao Soi Mei Sai
Grab a number and wait, standing in the shade peering at happy faces slapping noodles into their mouths. Finally your time will come and you'll be seated with the aching love of expectation ratting your ribs. The bowl arrives and the heavenly symphonies beging. A slightly sweet gravy, but packed with flavour. Incredibly tender beef that still kept its texture, great noodles, good crispy noodles, and a bloody hot chilli sauce to pour on if the broth was too tame.
Definitely worth tracking down since it's a little outside the main drag, but this bowl is up there, but just didn't have the depth to knock the best one off it's throne.
KHAO SOI LUNG PRAKIT KAD GORM
The Michelin Men have bestowed praise on this little shack, but that sometimes comes with a poisoned chalice. You end up standing in line for a place you used to just swerve right in. But hey, if the accolades are helping the family that run it then I'm all for it. This is exceptional Khao Soi. It's not my all-time favourite, but based on location this is the spot I would frequent if I lived in Chiang Mai. Though the beef pieces can vary between tender and rubber, it's the overall flavour I love here.
My personal favourite khao soi
KHAO SOI PRINCE
A 25 minute journey out of Chiang Mai, this place is reserved for hardcore Khao Soi pilgrims. I know a lot of you are going to hesitate to go here making excuses that the places in town are good enough, and whilst I'd agree with you, this is just a notch above. It really has to be tasted to be believed.
Charming cook, ramshackle hut, blisteringly tasty broth and homemade noodles, this is everything you're looking for in a bowl. There is a reason this is Andy Ricker's fave.
All these recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
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"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"
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