Chiang Mai Micro Guide
10 Cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai
When you are living in Chiang Mai or travelling solo for a long period, you learn to be frugal. That said, I grew a little tired trying to become a travel content writer while living on pot noodles every day and started looking for the best cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai. You will notice from this list, most of these cheap restaurants in Chiang Mai are on the same side of the old town and all within walking distance of each other; it is just coincided – they really are my favourites.
10 Best cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai
1. Funky Monkey Cafe
My favourite; small, cozy, local and really cheap. Funky Monkey Chiang Mai is a very small corner restaurant with minimal seating and best known for their Funky Monkey Burger – I go here almost everyday. They have amazing smoothies for just 30/40 baht and french toast which I usually have in the morning. That said, I have Pad Thai here most days too and it never matters whether I sit an the counter or the small table on the pavement, there is something very cosy about this small venue and the staff are super friendly/efficient which put it at the top of my best cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai.
Try: Pad Ka Praow or a Strawberry with banana smoothie.
Where is Funky Monkey Chiang Mai? Ratchapakhinai Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai
2. Mickey Bunny Cafe
Right next door to Funky Monkey. Each and every day I find it hard to decide between Mickey Bunny Cafe Chiang Mai and its neighbour. My favourite thing about here is the decor and how friendly the staff are to customers. I believe they are one big family with the staff always running around and taking turns with holding of the baby. Really cool decor in here and if you have kids they will especially love it as it is mostly Disney related. I go here each morning for breakfast as there is space to sit with my laptop which is important for a digital nomad in Chiang Mai. Overall another one of the super cool and cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai.
Try: Quickie Breakfast with very fresh hot croissants and coffee.
Where is Mickey Bunny Cafe? Ratchapakhinai Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai.
3. Kat’s Kitchen
British/Thai owned, the staff are friends in Kat’s Kitchen but for me it is one of the cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai for the reason that the food is so good and at a reasonable price. There are usually a few tourists or ex-pats in here and while it is very modest or basic in terms of decor, the quality of the food makes up for it. My particular favourite in this Chiang Mai restaurant are the Khao Soi Noodles which you can have according to whether you like spicy food or not – they ask you this beforehand. Tip: Spicy is very hot here.
Try: Khao Soi Noodles
Where is Kat’s Kitchen Chiang Mai? Next to Tony’s Big Bikes at 17, Ratchamanka Rd
4. Dumplings at Chiang Mai Gate
These are just delicious and at 40 baht for 6 pieces (or 60bht per 12), it is definitely one of the best cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai. Located next to Chiang Mai Gate and a long line of other street food sellers, this is my favourite stall where you can watch them make these dumplings by hand before frying them up before your eyes. It’s pretty quick but you will nevertheless be starving by the time they are ready.
Try: Dumplings, obviously.
Where is Chiang Mai Gate? In the very south of the old town.
5. Kabab House
It’s not Thai food but they do they most amazing kebabs and when you eat for two people this is one of the best cheap places to eat in Chian Mai. Reason being, you can buy a large kebab and chips for 160 baht but for an extra 30 baht you can have an extra kebab meaning a meal for two. It is cheaper again if you go for a smaller portion at lunch but I love going here while living in Chiang Mai because you can grow tired of eating the same style every day and this feels like a taste of western food to mix it up a little.
Try: Chicken Kebab with chips.
Where is Kabab House in Chiang Mai? Next to Zoe in Yellow on the Rathvithi Road.
6. Pad Thai on the street
You can go here from around 6pm onward and they cook pad thai on the spot for just 40 baht. Try to sit down at the only table when you arrive and wait, otherwise I sometimes sit on the cub next to the stand and eat away – nobody cares. Very fresh but a little too much oil sometimes although the portions are huge and at 40 baht a pop – who cares.
Tip: Grab a banana nutella rotee at the stall next to it for dessert.
Where can you find street food in Chiang Mai? Across from Johns Place – 95/2 Ratchapakhinai Rd, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
7. The Corner
This is a super popular restaurant in prime location and it was actually the first of the best cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai that I managed to find. Service is fast, it’s great for people watching and the environment is very green with lots of plants etc lining the sidewalk. I have had many meals in here but the chicken pepper stir fry is my best pick.
Try: Chicken with green pepper stir fry.
Where is The Corner restaurant in Chiang Mai? Phra Sing, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
8. Dada Cafe
Just around the corner from The Corner, Dada Cafe is a very green eating restaurant. It is slightly more in terms of cost than the other cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai but at the same time, that little bit extra healthy or organic touch is always nice. I have had a couple of fantastic meals in here but the best was definitely the fresh spring rolls.
Try: Spring Rolls
Where is Dada Cafe in Chiang Mai? Ratmakka Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai
9. Coconut Shell
Another incredibly busy spot where people clamber over themselves just to grab a seat on the road. Yes their tables are on the roadside but I can see why it is so popular as the cashew chicken is excellent and so too is the green curry. The one thing I am not so keen on here is how close the tables are together, but that’s just me and for anyone else it would be a nice option for one of the cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai.
Try: Green curry
Where is Coconut Shell Chiang Mai? 42/4 Rachamankha
10. Taste from Heaven
I guess there really should be a vegetarian option on every list of cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai and this one is hugely popular. It is home cooked food at its best, the restaurant is vegan friendly and they are extremely accommodating with specific dietary needs.
Try: Tom Yum Noodles
Where is Taste from Heaven Chiang Mai? 34/1 Ratmakka road