Hey, everyone! I’m in Chiang Mai, Thailand for 3 months. The food here is awesome and super affordable. Today, I’ll share the top 3 grilled chicken places in Chiang Mai. In my experience, the grilled chickens in Thailand are way better than in the US. The chickens here are smaller and more tender. The US chickens are always so huge. I also made a companion video clip. Check it out at the end of this post if you aren’t too hungry.
More food pics in my Cost of Living in Chiang Mai post.
Top 3 grilled chicken in Chiang Mai
There are 3 famous grilled chicken places in Chiang Mai. Here they are in the order I tried them.
- SP Chicken in old town
- Chiang Doi Chicken in the Nimman area
- Wichian Buri* Chicken in the Nimman area
*Wichian Buri is a district that’s famous for grilled chicken. It’s a style, like Texas BBQ.
These are all really good. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. The grilled chickens were awesome at all three places. It’s really down to preference. I ordered grilled chicken and som tum (papaya salad) at all three places so I can compare them. I’ll go through them one at a time.
The chicken here was tender and succulent. It was also the smokiest chicken out of all three. This chicken was the one I liked best because the smokiness was just perfect. But like I said all three were awesome.
The chicken was stuffed with herbs and spices, then cooked whole on a verticle charcoal grill. I think this setup takes more time to cook. That’s why this chicken was smokier than others.
The som tum was okay, nothing special.
The sauce was good, but the other places had better sauces.
Chiang Doi Chicken
The chicken here was great too. I think they deboned the chicken breast and grilled it over a charcoal grill. The setup was in the back so I didn’t see how they cook it. The skin was very crispy. If you like crispy skin, this place would be perfect for you. The chicken was a little smokey, not as much as SP chicken.
The som tum here was good. It was bright and easy to eat. I guess a cleaner taste for tourists. No weird preserved fish or crab.
(Actually, I ordered Som Tum Thai at all three places. This doesn’t have preserved fish in it. If you want to try it with preserved fish, you can order Som Tum Lao.)
The sauce here was awesome. It had a nice thick tamarind base so it was sour, salty, and a little spicy. Really good.
Wichian Buri Chicken in Nimman
The chicken here was also really good. It’s like the middle ground between the previous two shops. The chicken was spatchcocked and grilled on top of a big bed of charcoal. I think it wasn’t as smokey as SP chicken and wasn’t as crispy as Chiang Doi chicken. Hence, middle ground. But it was the juiciest chicken! See, they all have their good points.
The som tum here was also the best out of all three. It was a bit spicier, saltier, and sourer. Basically, a bit more geared for Thai people. I liked this som tum the best.
The sauce here was good. It was tamarind based too, but not as concentrated as the Chiang Doi chicken’s sauce.
And the winner is…
All 3 chicken places are awesome. I like all of them and will take my family to eat there later. It’s hard to decide which one was the best because they all had their strengths and weaknesses. But if we just look at chickens, here is how I rank them according to my preference.
#1 – SP Chicken. Smokey and succulent.
#2 – Chiang Doi Chicken. Awesome crispy skin.
#3 – Wichian Buri Chicken. What can I say? It was good, but the other places had more focus. The som tum here was the best, though.
Check out my YouTube video below! Subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to see more content like his.
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