Chiang Mai, Thailand is a bustling city where you can feast on cheap food. There are many thai street foods that lurk the city of ChiangMai. You can buy different dishes on the streets. You are given the option to dine in or prefer food to go orders. At the Chiang Mai Gate Market (Pratu Chiang Mai Market ), you will be amazed with the number of vendors selling almost all kinds of dishes in the early hours of the morning. And if you are wondering where to go for breakfast when your favorite coffee shops are still closed, you can go to the Pratu Chiang Mai Market near the Chiang Mai gate.
one of the walls of the Chiang Mai gate on the way to the Pratu Chiang Mai Market
young monks in dark red robes making their rounds to ask for alms
Ever since I arrived in Chiang Mai, I always wake up early. When I transferred to another Chiang Mai guest house after celebrating the 2012 Songkran Festival, I discovered that my new home was just a block away from the Pratu Chiang Mai Market. I went to the place to see what cheap food I could get for breakfast.
When I reached the market, I saw this food cart across the street along with tables set up for diners. My curiosity won over and I soon found myself ordering the same drink the lady vendor prepared for another customer.
I didn’t realize that what I ordered was iced coffee. I could have cancelled that order and requested for a hot coffee instead but the iced coffee I saw on the other table looked tempting so I didn’t change my order.
There’s this table beside the cart that sells toasted breads for 5 baht. I was supposed to buy cheap food for breakfast but I was not able to resist the temptation and gave in without knowing the price of the coffee that I also ordered. I wanted to experience what it feels like eating breakfast in an open area and observe the locals go about their daily market routines.
Seeing how they prepared the bread was really a treat. To prepare the 5 baht toasted bread, butter is spread on one side and then grilled. After which, sugar is sprinkled on top of it before sweetened milk is added. The the toasted bread are sliced into bite-sized pieces then served at the tables or packed as food to go depending on your preference.
A Thai local, named Nan, arrived a few minutes after I found a table and asked to share the table with me. His command of the English language was perfect. Most of the locals in Thailand are not good with conversing in English so being next to one was a breather as I won’t have a hard time chatting with him. I learned that he is a tour guide. I told him about our 2-day trek adventure and discovered interesting information on how to choose the best adventure packages in Chiang Mai.
When Nan’s hot coffee was served, it came with a small glass of tea. Nan explained that the tea is free and it is used to cleanse one’s mouth after drinking coffee. Tea for rinsing one’s mouth was something new to me. I never imagined those two drinks could go along together.
Nan and I exchanged goodbyes when he had to leave for work. He was on his way to guide a group of 15 guests on a 3-day trekking adventure.
I continued eating my toasted bread and drank the iced coffee while observing the people around me. Although it was still 7 in the morning, the refreshing cold drink helped awaken my spirits.
As soon as I finished my food, I approached the vendor and asked how much I owe her. “25 baht” she said. That amount is as cheap as booking Thailand flights to nearby provinces of Chiang Mai!
I didn’t expect my Chiang Mai breakfast that day would turn out to be one of the most interesting and beautiful breakfasts I’ve had in my life. It was just a simple breakfast, really. But I wouldn’t get tired of having breakfasts like that each day.
If you have free time in the morning when you visit Chiang Mai, Thailand, you can head over to the Pratu Chiang Mai Market and have this simple Chiang Mai breakfast. Include this in your “What to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand” list and enjoy having simple meals with the locals.
The food cart where I ate breakfast in Chiang Mai is available form 6am up to 10am daily. They also serve boiled egg, milo and other drinks.
10 baht – 2 toasted breads
15 baht – iced coffee and hot tea
25 baht – total cost of my breakfast in Chiang Mai