Restaurants in Chiang Mai offering healthy organic fare—that also happens to be delicious!
ANCHAN VEGETARIAN: Vegetarians will find their bliss at Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant (Nimmanhaemin Soi 10), a simple upstairs dining room decked out with wooden tables adorned with fresh flowers; a humble setting for Chiang Mai’s most highly praised meat-free fare. The menu items are all Thai dishes—all made to order—and although the food is mostly vegan (even the desserts), there are a few dishes that contain eggs. They also have a good selection of healthy drinks, including juice made from anchan, the purple flower from which the restaurant takes its name. Open daily from 11am till 8:30pm.
PUN PUN ORGANIC RESTAURANT: With the aim of supporting local organic farmers, farmer networks, and propagating biodiversity, Pun Pun Organic Restaurant is a project that sets out some impressive round rules. The food served here is organic (as much as possible), diverse (containing various rare or indigenous herbs and plants), and healthy (no MSG, GMOs, or preservatives). They also don’t use white refined sugar, they use unrefined whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat flour, and they only use free-range humanely-raised meat. They have two restaurant outlets—one near the airport and one near the Suan Dok temple grounds.
OH KA JHU: There are two locations of the very popular Oh Ka Jhu restaurant in Chiang Mai (and one in Bangkok as well, at Siam Paragon). The original location is a bit off the beaten track—121 Outer Ring Road, Sansai—but the second outlet is located in a community mall near the airport, making it much easy to get to. Either way, a visit to this cheery farm-to-table restaurant ensures you’ll be treated to fresh, organic fare—that’s also highly Instagram-worthy—as all the veggies are grown organically in the huge green garden just behind the Sansai branch. The leafy salads, served with a variety of homemade dressings, are delightful, but carnivores can still tuck into the barbeque Flintstone-sized pork spareribs smothered in homemade BBQ sauce, the German style sausage platter, or the tender salmon steak.
OXYGEN DINING ROOM: Like all the X2 (cross-to) resorts in Thailand, the recently opened X2 Chiang Mai Riverside Resort offers holiday makers a chic retreat with style to spare. However, this newest addition to the Chiang Mai hotel scene also tempts local gourmands with the Oxygen Dining Room, the resort’s glass-walled, all-day riverside restaurant venue. Here, Executive Chef Alexandre Demard—a recent winner in the Iron Chef Thailand Challenge—oversees a kitchen where the fresh salads and vegetables are 90 percent organic, as they’re all sourced from the organic Urawai Farm, located just outside of Chiang Mai. In addition, their free-range organic chicken supplier is Prosun Farm, in Sukhothai province. Try the visually entrancing signature ‘Vegetable Symphony’ dish… you can’t get much more organic than that!
KHAO: Located to the north of Chiang Mai Old Town, at the foothills of Doi Suthep mountain, the lavish Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai is home to the recently opened restaurant Khao, where dishes are inspired by local recipes, handed down from generation to generation, but the ingredients are taken to another level. In fact, Head Chef Anchalee Luadkham works with organic farms all over Thailand, including those of the Royal Projects, in order to find the best produce possible—although sometimes it’s just around the corner, in the resort’s very own herb garden. Each dish has its own story, whether that revolves around the Northern villages from where the produce came, the method in which it’s cooked, or the historical context. Even the cocktail menu is remarkable, with a few concoctions that utilize a locally distilled high-end rice wine.
MEENA RICED BASED CUISINE:
A unique dining destination worth seeking out, Meena Riced Based Cuisine is a restaurant set in a refurbished Lanna-style rice barn—surrounded by tall trees, greenery, and overlooking a small pond—that is located about 5 km to the east of the city centre. Inspired by the traditional ways of Thailand’s rice farmers, the menu offers diners dishes that deliver authentic recipe food and beverages, most of which have rice as an ingredient. Be sure to order the house specialty, a multi-coloured, pie-shaped block of rice that combines brown, jasmine, saffron, and butterfly pea rice with super dark riceberry (accompanied by colourful edible herbs and flowers). They even farm their own fish and seafood on the premises.