Aroon Rai Restaurant serves Chiang Mai’s best Khao Soi noodles.
This is a highly subjective, personal point of view to say the least. It is also one of this fork’s all time favourite Thai noodle dishes from any region of the country.
It might even come out top compared to noodle dishes from any other Asian country (except maybe this pho).
And it felt like coming home after having eaten at Aroon Rai Restaurant for almost three decades.
Every visit the first and last order down my neck is the Khao Soi noodles. That might not be entirely accurate, yet I have always had a least one bowl regardless of other dishes ordered.
One thing I noticed this time is that I wasn’t the only visitor in search of a tasty Khao Soi noodle fix.
Besides doing a very brisk take away business with Chiang Mai Thais, Aroon Rai was packed with Chinese tourists loudly slurping down multiple bowls before stepping outside to smoke multiple cigarettes.
These weren’t Chinese diners on package group tours, but FIT travellers like on the train to Bangkok that found Aroon Rai Restaurant using their smart phones. Clever.
Obviously it came highly recommended on the latest Chinese-language smart phone travel apps.
While they seemed to have little trouble finding Aroon Rai, I wandered around thinking had I really forked up?
And when did Starbucks and McDonald’s open outlets opposite Chiang Mai’s famed Thaepae Gate?
Guess it had been a while since the last visit.
Aroon Rai is a Chiang Mai institution since 1957, and it was just another two minutes down the road from the US fast food giants.
At 45 baht (US$1.40) the portions are modest, so after the third bowl of chicken Khao Soi it felt like enough for one meal.
However the ‘khao gaeng’ spread and fried food laid out at the front of the restaurant looked more than tempting as well.