Chiang Mai food paradise: ‘The best I’ve ever eaten’

Wherever you go in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, the food is outstanding, says novelist Deepti Kapoor, who shares her favourite street stalls, markets and must-try barbecue, curry and noodle dishes

I’ve lived in India all my life, eaten everywhere from Leh to Cochin, tasted extraordinary dishes by the humblest chaat-wala and the fanciest chef, but nowhere in my land, not in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Hyderabad or Kolkata, have I eaten so well, so cheaply, so grandly and with so much joy as in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai.

Even without the food, it’s a kind of paradise: close to the Myanmar border, modern yet resolutely traditional, spotlessly clean while never sterile; easily navigable but filled with a thousand hidden treasures, urban and chic (in part thanks to the large student population from the university) but surrounded by hills and jungle.

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