If you haven’t been fortunate enough to devour a bowl of khao soi, you are probably wondering what the heck it is and why would we write an entire post about it. Well, khao soi is Chiang Mai’s signature dish. It is a coconut curry based soup with egg noodles, topped with meat (usually chicken, pork or beef) and crispy fried noodles, finished off with a garnish of lime, shallots and pickled cabbage. It is quite simply the most glorious thing I have ever tasted.

Now that we have been living in Chiang Mai for 7 weeks and we have eaten at least 100 bowls of this liquid gold, we feel obligated to share which spots we think should be on everyone’s list. So, without further ado, here are our picks for the top 5 restaurants to eat your weight in khao soi. 

5. Khao Soi Nimman

Most places you have the option to choose between chicken, pork or beef. Well, that is not the case at Khao Soi Nimman, where the topping options are basically limitless. You can get everything from khao soi topped with the usual chicken to squid to an omlette! I opted for the northern style sausage (pictured here) which was amazing.

4. Reform Kafe

Vegans and vegetarians rejoice, khao soi is not just for meat eaters! Head to Reform Kafe, located in the Old City, for the best vegan khao soi we have ever tasted. They sub the usual meats for a variation of vegetables and tofu. It may change up the entire texture of the dish but the flavor is just as delicious!

3. Khao Soi Khun Yai

This place, which translates to Grandma’s Khao Soi, has the best bowl of khao soi that you can find inside the Old City. It is creamy, spicy and best of all, they shred the chicken so you don’t have to pull it apart yourself! This is a very popular spot, so get there early before they run out.

2. Kad Suan Kaew

One of our favorite places to go for khao soi is in the food court on the bottom floor of Kad Suan Kaew, located in the Nimman area. There are a few food courts so make sure you enter through the front and head down to the Food Factory. There, you will find one khao soi vendor. What makes this one of our favorites is the fact that you can somewhat make your own. You’re given a bowl filled with broth, your choice of meat and noodles but then you can put as much cilantro, lime, shallots and other toppings as your heart desires, making you in control of the flavor!

1. Khao Soi Mae Sai

I dare you to find a better khao soi than the mind blowing one they serve up at Khao Soi Mae Sai, located in Nimman. This is one of those restaurants that you could walk right by and not think twice about (minus all the people that flock there every day) which is one reasons why we love it here. Another reason, the service is crazy fast. If we are in a rush, we can be in and out of there in 15 minutes. And obviously the biggest reason, their khao soi is TO DIE FOR. I might even say that it is the best thing I have ever tasted. If you’re reading this, do yourself a favor and book a flight to Chiang Mai just so you can eat at Khao Soi Mae Sai. 

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We are your typical American family who decided life is too short to live in one place.

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