Our “Chef’s Tour” started out with meeting our guides at Wat Lok Molee, a strategic starting point to avoid city dinner-time traffic in the Old Town. We were given a short introduction to Thai food and then went to one of the most famous food stalls in Chiang Mai (the Cowboy Hat Lady) as seen on Anthony Bourdain’s show “Parts Unknown”.
We arrived before the crowds – a subtle but important nod to how well the tour would be planned for the rest of the evening. Moui and Pin, our guides, were so friendly! We talked through each meal, learning about the ingredients, where the dishes originated from, and just normal friendly conversation. It felt like old friends coming together to share a meal, much more enjoyable than a guide that just buys you a plate of food and waits for you to finish it.
Moui and Pin were determined to have us try things we had never tried before, somewhat of a difficult task after having lived in Chiang Mai for years, but they definitely succeeded in doing so! We came across some potential stumbling blocks when a certain dish was sold out or a place was closed, but this didn’t phase our guides for a second – they had backup plan after backup plan to ensure that we got the full experience and more than our money’s worth in food. Had they not mentioned to us that something had been changed, we would not have even noticed as there was no delay in figuring out the alternative. It is easy to see Moui and Pin’s true love for Thai food, and they are so excited to share the experience with you every step of the way, even snacking alongside you while walking through the markets.
In addition to trying COUNTLESS dishes (seriously I was stuffed about halfway through but couldn’t stop trying everything I was handed), we were given information about the background about the locations we visited and even learned the Thai names of the dishes so that we could order again later.
We went to markets, food stalls, shophouses, and even to a famous Shan chef’s small restaurant. We thoroughly enjoyed our time on this tour, left with some new favorite snacks, and had made new friends – definitely a great way to spend an evening in Chiang Mai!