Buying Food in Chiang Mai

There are both markets and supermarkets near-ish us in Chiang Mai, but the markets easily win in terms of better produce, cheaper prices, and more interesting sites.




My first Chiang Mai market visit was part of a cooking class. It was a good orientation to things like the coconut milk press and different varieties of produce.


For example, these little green things are a type of eggplant.


Even though I don’t shop for meat, I’m fascinated by the way meat is presented and sold in different cultures and countries. In the US, the way we approach meat often seems to be an attempt to disguise where it came from and what it looks like in a relatively unprocessed state. Here, that’s definitely not the case.





At markets you can also buy turtles – not for eating, but to be blessed by a monk and then released back into water. You can buy eels for blessing and releasing too.


All of the markets I’ve visited have also offered prepared food, from sweets to savory snacks to whole meals, as well as clothes and random household goods.

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All of the above photos are from daytime markets, which I visit a pretty often.

Less frequently, we’ve dropped by several of the night markets (or night bazars) in Chiang Mai, which seem to be less focused on ingredients for cooking, though they are a good place to obtain pretty much everything else, from souvenirs to prepared meals to clothes to flowers to foot massages.

Last Thursday, Brian bought a replacement wedding ring at a night market, after losing his last one in Costa Rica. It seems fair to assume that one of the giant lizards that lived by our house ate it.

2 Replies to “Buying Food in Chiang Mai”

  1. VERY interesting. Love the casual barefoot employee. Do you ever have a bad reaction to some foods? Do the meats not need to be kept cold? Your posts are very educational. Thank you.

    1. I’ve had a few times where my stomach hasn’t felt great for a a day or two (on the trip in general, not just Thailand), but it’s hard to tell if it’s the food or just some other bug going around.

      Not sure about the meats – good question! (Except for our once-a-month-trying-the-local-dish, we eat vegetarian foods, and we haven’t bought meat from the market.) I think that often food from the market is bought and then prepared in the same day, so that probably helps.

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