When I set out on an adventure to visit a new destination, the first thing I look into is what the local cuisine is like. My sister and I are both very picky eaters, and we both don’t like to try anything that is too far out of our western cuisine comfort zone. I think this has to be because I grew up on Kraft mac & cheese and meat loaf, and the spiciest thing I ever tried was some hot Cheetos. I also never ate any type of seafood or fish, thanks to the TV show Arthur. Arthur would say that fish is for ducks, so after that I never ate any fish or seafood again.
A lot of people say that eating the local cuisine is the big part of traveling to a new destination. While I do agree on some level, I simply see food as a way to fuel your body so you can continue on to the next adventure.
When I was planning my trip to Chiang Mai, the very first thing I did was look to see what large fast food chains were in the city. To my excitement, there was an abundance of western fast food chains, so I knew that my sister and I wouldn’t starve. In Chiang Mai you’re going to find McDonalds, Subway, KFC, Burger King, and Starbucks.
The local McDonalds is going to have many of the items that you are used to seeing here in the United States. They have their hamburgers, soggy french fries, hash browns, eggs, etc. They are also going to have some exclusive Thailand items. They have their Pinky Choc Pie and the Ham & Egg Pie. The Pinky Pie is basically a pie filled with a chocolate filling, and the Ham & Egg Pie is a chicken, ham, and egg filling that has cheddar cheese and a blend of seasonings.
For breakfast, I stuck with their local double sausage, bacon, cheese, and egg sandwich. I’m sure that was a super healthy way to start my day. I also tried their dough stick, which is basically unsweetened fried dough. If you happen to get their apple juice, be aware that it is a neon green color and it doesn’t taste like apple juice. I would compare it to more of an apple Capri Sun. All in all, I was very happy with every meal I had at McDonalds in Chiang Mai.
Being a picky eater, I don’t have many foods that I can find outside of the United Sates that I like. When I’m out of the country there is always one food I have found that every picky eater will like. That food happens to be pizza. Pizza is just dough, cheese, and sauce – so it’s typically a food that you can find everywhere.
There is a chain of restaurants in Chiang Mai Thailand called The Duke’s. By the time I left Thailand, The Duke’s had become my favorite lunch and dinner spot. Their food was great, and the service was fantastic. There are multiple The Duke’s locations spread throughout Chiang Mai, but the particular location that I went to was located in the Maya Mall, on the third floor.
When I went to The Duke’s, I would either get a large cheese pizza and share it with my sister, or I would get their grilled cheese & tomato soup, which was fantastic. They also have a wide verity of other western style food choices, like steak and ribs. The pizza was always so good that I would have to say it was better than some of the pizza I’ve had in the United States.
After dinner I would head down to the first floor of the Maya Mall and have a venti coffee from Starbucks. The Starbucks in Chiang Mai are going to have the majority of the drinks that you’re used to getting in the United States.
If you are the type of person that isn’t a picky eater, there are plenty of street food carts that you can get some freshly made local cuisine for under $1. The smells that filled the streets from the food carts were more than enough reason for me to stay away, but there were plenty of tourists feasting on the food from the street carts.
There was only one time in Chiang Mai where we didn’t have access to a fast food chain, which was while we were on an all-day elephant riding adventure at Ran-Tong. There will be a full post on our fantastic experience at Ran-Tong at a later time, but for now it’s all about the lunch. We didn’t come well prepared with snacks to make it through the day, so by the time it was lunchtime we were starving. For lunch we were served floating chicken leg. It is basically a boiled chicken leg in a sweet broth with some crunchy noodles. My sister and I both ate it, and it was actually quite tasty, but when I look back on the pictures I am beyond amazed that I ate the lunch, let alone that my sister did. In all of our years of travel, this is probably the most local food that we’ve ever eaten.
There are a lot of people who won’t travel outside of the United States because they are afraid of the food situation. I am one of the pickiest eaters out there, and fortunately for me, McDonalds is located in 119 countries; soon to be 121 with the addition of Tunisia and Nigeria. Another good thing to remember is that if you are staying at a chain resort (Starwood/Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt) they will typically have western options for you to eat as well.
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I had a fantastic time dining in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and it is one location that I recommended to many people based upon the abundance of western fast food options, and local restaurants that cater to the western food cuisine. If you are a picky eater like myself, Chiang Mai is one place where you won’t have to worry about going hungry.
If you have any questions about the cuisine in Chiang Mai, Thailand or about traveling while being a picky eater, then please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.
My name is Scott and i’m a Curious Traveler, Costco Enthusiast, Intermediate Blogger, Creative, and most of all an Adventure Seeker. I’m here to share with you all of my exciting adventures as I travel the world to visit new destinations, meet new people, and hopefully visit a Costco or two along the way.