Located directly off Manee Nopparat Road across from the canal surrounding old city Chiang Mai, Free Bird Cafe is a healthy and delicious way to support a local nonprofit NGO called Thai Freedom House, which benefits Burmese refugees through language and arts community programs.
Breakfast and lunch are served from 9am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday. With open air seating, greenery, and the friendliest staff, Free Bird is a truly pleasant dining experience and a new personal favorite in Chiang Mai. Wifi and art magazines are also offered free of charge for customers.
The menu is expansive, with both gluten free and vegan options available, all organic. There were both Western breakfast food and Shan food from Burma available, most of them with a bit of a twist to the customary dishes. Menu items included trail mix pancakes, omelettes filled with pennywort, and samosas (a typical Burmese street food). The homemade brownies were incomparable. It was mid to upper-ranged pricing; however, no buyers remorse is conceivable when all profits go to a great cause and the food is beyond worth it.
This little cafe also featured a wide selection of “pre-loved” books and clothing from their donation center. A small adjacent room was fit to mimic a miniature thrift shop with very reasonable and colorful clothes, shoes, jewelry and mugs. Store products such as stickers and shirts were also available for purchase, many featuring their slogan, “No one is free while others are oppressed”.
Many customers were situated for an afternoon of working or just hanging out, clearly making it more than just a quick pitstop for many. Service was relatively quick however, especially considering that every table was occupied. Free Bird Cafe quickly became a new favorite restaurant, with a rich local flavor to what appears to be an expat hub.
Written By: Grace Van Kirk