A month has passed after my visit to Chiang Mai last year, and now, I can’t deny the fact that I kinda miss it.
It feels like yesterday when I hopped from one coffee shop to another, having a cheap tasty lunch in between, visiting the night market on weekend.
I kinda miss it, you know. I miss the small-but-not-too-small city, I miss the chilly atmosphere, I miss the cheap food, I miss the friendly locals that kept me smiling all day, I miss walking around wearing short pants without getting any cat calls. Damn, I miss Chiang Mai!
One food that I kept on eating while I was there is Gai Yang. At a glance, it looks just like a normal grilled chicken you usually find, which is probably true. But, there’s something about it that makes it so addictive. I don’t know what, maybe it’s just its charm? You’ll see.
Some spell it Gai Yang, some spell it Kai Yang. And I found, on the internet, that it’s called ไก่ย่าง. (Can’t read it!). Whatever, it’s the same thing.
I found that there are basically two types of Gai Yang – first one is the one with bones, and the other one is the boneless type, which I prefer.
They usually sell it as a whole chicken, or a half. And serve it with some dipping sauce. Now the dipping sauce might differ from one place to another. In fact, of all the places I’ve visited, none of them share the same kind of sauce. The chicken itself was marinated before grilled on a low heat for a quite long period of time. It tasted mild and slightly sweet, but sometimes you can taste a hint of tanginess.
WHERE TO EAT GAI YANG IN CHIANG MAI
Although there are a lot of places which might sell Gai Yang, these are a few list of my favourite, and also the most popular one in town, sorted by my preferences!
1. Gai Yang at Cherng Doi
I found Gai Yang at Cherng Doi best as it is boneless and also a lot juicier than any other chicken around. Maybe because it contains more fat?
Don’t miss the Papaya Salad (som tam) here. It was bloody good! But beware, it was a very spicy som tam. Our favorite is the fried one as they are fried, obviously, and they separate the sauce so you don’t get the much burn on your tongue. You might also wanna have some beer to accompany you and your glorious chicken.
Suk Kasem Rd, Mueang Chiang Mai
2. Gai Yang at ไก่ย่างวิเชียรบุรี Soi 11, Nimman area
Now this is another favourite of mine. The chicken is not as fatty as the one at Cherng Doi, but they marinated the chicken just beautifully. If you happen to go here, don’t miss their whole chicken and som tam (papaya salad). Som tam was not too spicy, which is just perfect for me!
Nimmana Haeminda Soi 11, Chiang Mai
3. Gai Yang at SP Chicken, Old City
I heard a lot of reviews about SP Chicken even before I got to Chiang Mai. Don’t get me wrong. It was good, but not outrageous. It was a bit too dry to my liking. But it’s still packed up with flavors.
And oh, do try their BBQ Pork. It was awesome.
ไก่ย่าง เอสพี (SP Chicken)
9/1 Sam Larn Soi 1 Road, Pra Singh, Chiang Mai
HOW LOCALS EAT IT
Most locals, I spotted, had Gai Yang with sticky rice. Sounded odd to me, and it still does, but I guess it’s the perfect combination for locals. I tried eating it with sticky rice once, but didn’t really like the taste, so the next time I had Gai Yang, I had it with steamed rice instead.
What I like about Gai Yang is that the whole chicken is perfectly marinated and then grilled on a charcoal over a very low heat so that it doesn’t burt. That way, it took quite sometime to grill a chicken but the best part of it, which is the meat, stays juicy and not dry. I did try make some for last NYE dinner and it was not easy.
Heading to Chiang Mai anytime soon? Don’t you ever EVER miss this food!