People are currently celebrating Yi Ping and Loi Kratong Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.. and I was privileged to experienced it a few years ago.. Although environmentalists actually frown on the idea of lighting up several lanterns in the air that releases more CO2. *sigh*
For those who are in Chiang mai, or are planning to go, you should not miss the buffet experience too. Shayne, a couchsurfing ambassador I met last 2013, shares with you more about where to eat in the fairy city.
Like most cities these days, there are so many options for eating in Chiang Mai. There are so many street vendors, restaurants and buffet options available. I am going to give you a personal selection for the best of those buffet options around Chiang Mai. One of the best things about buffets is you can try a little bit of everything and when you see the same thing on the streets, you can buy it knowing whether you like it or not. You can be adventurous and taste some of the many wonderful dishes Thailand has to offer.
Thai Style BBQ Buffets
There are so many table top, self-cook, Thai style BBQ (called moo-gra-ta) places around Chiang Mai. You can usually find them by looking for big tin sheds with lots of tables and some versions will have a blackened hole in the middle your table. People will fill their tables with many plates of uncooked meats and vegetables and sit there for hours, slowly getting through all the foods they have taken. The biggest is Sukonta Moograta which when full is a site to see and includes interesting live Thai entertainment. You will pay between 99-299 baht (US$3-9) with some including soft drinks and water in the price, alcohol isn’t included. Dinner Only.
Many of the big hotels serve buffet lunch or dinners only and some offer differing options for both lunch and dinner. Mid-range hotels like the Chiang Mai Grandview, The Empress, Holiday Inn and the Siripanna Hotel offer lunch time business buffets. They have many northern Thai style appetizers, other Thai dishes, soups and noodles available as well as a good selection of international options. They also have a varied salad bar, with delicious cake and dessert offerings. Usually around 200 baht (US$6). 11:00am-2:30pm. Each of these hotels has a dinner buffet for around 400 baht with a wider Asian variety of foods. Many of the bigger hotels around the famous Night Bazaar offer buffet dinner dining, at slightly higher prices. The quality is superior to all the other buffets in Chiang Mai and outstanding at the Le Meridien, Shangri-La and Centara Duangtawan. These are usually fairly quiet as they are out of most local’s price range. They are great for a special occasion.
Random Buffet Restaurants
Chiang Mai has a few very popular buffets that don’t fit into the above categories, their offerings can be quirky but their food is quality and delicious. There is Memorize on Nimman Soi 12, Retro Steak Café and Brownies and my personal favourite and a winner with the Germans, Auf der Au, a restaurant full of home made German sausages, meats, desserts and more meat. Some of the are very cheap at around 150 baht (US$5) and others are around 300 baht (US$10).
Shopping Mall Buffet Chains
In recent times, several new shopping malls have been built and each of these will have invariably have a Sizzler, MK Hot Pot or Shabushi chain restaurant. These are similar to home, so many more local generally visit these establishments. Prices are around 400 baht per person (US$12). The food quality is generally good.