Chiang Mai is well known for its culinary diversity; with options ranging from market food stands to authentic Italian cuisine, and everything in between. However, Chiang Mai is most famous for its exceptional Northern Thai food.

The signature sticky rice and regional curries that make up Northern Thai cuisine are a source of pride for local residents and an important part of the culture. Students will have endless opportunities to sample the local fare and attend cooking class where they will prepare authentic Thai dishes. Market favorites include green curry, spicy coconut-based soups, tangy noodle salads, tangerine juice, Thai sausage, coconut ice cream, and fried chicken with kefir lime leaves.

In addition to local fare we’ve included a variety of meal options into the program. Just like at home, there are pizza nights and burger runs on occasion. A continental breakfast is available every morning at Spicy Thai. Lunches vary with the day’s itinerary.

While at Spicy Thai, students will work in pairs along with a staff member to prepare a dinner of their choice for the rest of the group. Visits to our favorite local restaurants are also on the agenda. Our two weeks with the elephants, extensive buffet-style meals with tons of vegetarian options will be available.

We will also be visiting The Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center as guests at a traditional Thai cultural (khantoke) dinner. At this formal meal, students will sit on the floor and use their hands to eat rice, two meat dishes, and two vegetable dishes from bowls placed on a khantoke, a traditional low table. The dinner is followed by a traditional dance demonstration.

We will make every effort to accommodate students with specific dietary needs or requests. In general, Thailand is very vegan/vegetarian friendly and vegan/vegetarian menu options are usually clearly marked and plentiful. In fact, there are a few fantastic vegetarian restaurants within a few blocks of Spicy Thai.

However, it is important to understand that when eating outside of the hostel it is possible that specific cooking instructions might be misunderstood or ignored altogether. Those with severe allergies to peanuts or tree nuts may find it difficult to ensure the safe consumption of foods other than pre-packaged foods, because of the prevalence of peanuts and peanut oil in Thai food preparation.