In a city full of amazing street food and restaurants, I go to a mall next to the airport every time I want a bowl of this delicious Northern Thai/Burmese specialty.

Yes, I said it… the best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is in Central Airport Plaza Mall.

. . .

How to Find the Best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai, Thailand

With the McDonalds on your right, follow the guy in green into the Airport Plaza basement food court
With the McDonalds on your right, follow the guy in green into the Airport Plaza basement food court

To sample the best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai – a delicious combination of crispy and boiled egg noodles, chicken, and a curry-like sauce containing coconut milk – head directly to the McDonalds on G-level. If you get lost, it’s located right next to the giant indoor aquarium.

From there, walk past the tables of people selling meat on a stick, bacon wrapped hot dogs, spring rolls, and other mystery foods that I still haven’t quite identified yet.

 . . .

Keep on walking for another 10 seconds or so: past a bunch of people sitting on very low stools around a woman selling soup.

When you reach the back right corner of that same area, you will find a man standing in front of a giant pile of fried and boiled noodles. Sit down and enjoy the best bowl of Khao Soi in Chiang Mai, Thailand!

. . .

This is the location of the Chiang Mai Airport Plaza Food Court Khao Soi Guy
This is the location of the Chiang Mai Airport Plaza Food Court Khao Soi Guy

. . .

Don’t be fooled by the Western-style hotels and tourist traps that surround the mall. The basement food court is as local as they come. Granted, if you want to pay more and get less, you always can head up to the fourth floor’s fancy eateries.

. . .

Onions, limes, pickled cabbage, chilli flakes, sugar, and chilli-vinager sauce are all on the table to add flavor to your Kho Soi
Onions, limes, pickled cabbage, chilli flakes, sugar, and chilli-vinager sauce are all on the table to add flavor to your Kho Soi

For me, it’s Khao Soi time every time I go to Airport Plaza.

Northern Thai khao soi is closer to the present day Burmese on ne khauk swe, being a soup-like dish made with a mix of deep-fried crispy egg noodles and boiled egg noodles, pickled cabbage, shallots, lime, ground chillies fried in oil, and meat in a curry-like sauce containing coconut milk.

The curry is somewhat similar to that of yellow or massaman curry but of a thinner consistency. It is popular as a street dish eaten by Thai people in northern Thailand, though not frequently served in Thai restaurants abroad.

(thanks, Wikipedia)

. . .

Finding the Chiang Mai Airport Plaza Mall

Here’s a hint: it’s right next to the airport :) If you’re just going to be in Chiang Mai for a night, it’s easy to find affordable and  budget friendly hotels right next to the Mall. That way, you can just land, eat Khao Soi, sleep, wake up, eat more Khao Soi, go around town, go back to your hotel, head to the mall, eat more Khao Soi, then head to your destination.

Seriously though, check out this Google Map and it will answer all your questions about where to go. It’s right next to the driving range and the Airport Greenery Hotel. Or, just get in a songthaw, tell him “Airport Plaza,” pay 20 baht, and head to the basement. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

. . .

THAT SAID… I do admit that some folks out there might disagree with me… 

So, where is YOUR favorite Khao Soi in Chiang Mai, Thailand?

  • Awesome recommendation! I love love love Khao Soi, but it’s hard to find where I’m living near Bangkok. I was at the Airport Plaza last time I was in Chiang Mai, but I didn’t see this place. Next time!

    • Yeah, sadly it’s really just a Northern Thai thing. Which is kinda weird to me though, since you would think in Bangkok you could find ANYTHING :)

  • Okay, I’ll do it! Arrived in Chiang Mai for first time just this morning. Had my first DELICIOUS bowl of (vegetarian) Khao Soi at Brown Rice Organic Bistro. Can’t wait to try this one … thanks for the tip!

    • Welcome to Chiang Mai! Another tip is to be sure to go to the Yi Ping lantern festival by Mae Jo University this Saturday, November 24. It’s gonna be amazing!

  • Ooh! I get to Chiang Mai tomorrow for Yi Peng. Totally going to eat this!

  • Our favorite Khao soi was on snack street in Chiang Mai on the corner – can’t remember the name but they serve Khao Soi and Hainesse Chicken… both are delicious!

    • OK, I’m still here and that comment just made me hungry! Thanks for stopping by :)

  • I have traveled and lived all over the world as an international house sitter and digital nomad, but Thailand and its yummy food will happen for the first time in 2013. This article simply increases my cravings for more adventures and delicious food!

    • Nomnomnom. Thanks for your comment :) Be sure to drop a line if/when you make it to Chiang Mai!

  • Vickie

    I enjoyed Khao Soi 3 different times at Kalare Food area at Night Market. I will try the Airport Plaza place next time/ I too am in love with this dish and only wish I could find it in Sacramento, CA USA

    • Thanks for your comment Vickie. Are you in Sactown now? There’s quite a few dishes there that I would be very happy eating right now :)

  • Patrick

    Greg, nice recommendation! I was at the Airport Plaza Mall, and, guess where I ended up eating? At the 4th floor eateries outside the movie theater. Didn’t even know that the basement eateries exist. I will have to make that a scouting trip the next time.

  • Yann

    Hi ! I am crazy in love with this chiang mai noodles soup. Thanks for this great article. I live in Chiang Mai and my favorite place is Huen Muan Jai

    Cheers

    Yann

    • Thanks so much for your comment Yann. It just made me really hungry :)