Huen Muan Jai is a hugely popular restaurant in Chiang Mai, specialized in the traditional Northern Thai cuisine. The restaurant opened its doors in 2011 and since then, people have to wait in line due to popularity. The reasons why it’s so popular will I describe in this article.
Huen Muan Jai is located close to Hua Lin Corner, just outside the older parts of Chiang Mai. The restaurant can be recognized by its teak wooden structure. As Huen Muan Jai is completely made of teak wood, the atmosphere is unique. You instantly have the feeling you are entering something unusual, yet beautiful and traditional. This feeling will be increased when you notice the traditional decorations places all over the restaurant, such as traditional lamps, handwoven cloths and even a bicycle taxi. Huen Muan Jai is a two-story building with plenty of seats. But during high season, without a reservation, it’s almost a guarantee that you have to wait in line. Why? Because their traditional Northern Thai food is even better than the traditional atmosphere.
The menu of Huen Muan Jai is not that large, with six pages of Northern Thai food, however, the variety and uniqueness of these dishes are what makes it so good. The dishes are not that large, making it perfect to order several dishes per group in order to really experience the authentic Northern cuisine. The following dishes are highly recommended.
The first highly recommended dish is the Or Dep Muang (220 THB), which is a sample of several Northern appetizers. This includes two types of nam phrik, a Northern Thai dipping sauce. You dip it with steamed vegetables. One dip is made of green chillies, making it a bit spicy. The other dip is made of tomato and it more sweet and herby. The sample is also served with grilled pork belly, Northern Thai sausage, crispy baked pork and a Northern Thai pork curry. This appetizer is easily shareable with two and gives you the largest Northern Thai taste explosion available at Huen Muan Jai.
The next highly recommended dish at Huen Muan Jai is the Khua Hor (80 THB). This is a herby stir-fried curry with pork and mixed vegetables. It’s served with crispy fried pork, giving it an extra salty crunch. Another great option is the Gaeng Aom Moo (80 THB), which is a Northern style red curry with pork and local herbs. This curry is much more watery than I’m used to, but more fragrant thanks to the local herbs. The red curry is also available with chicken. The last highly recommend dish at Huen Muan Jai is the Gaeng Khae Gai (95 THB), which is a spicy soup served with a mix of vegetables and chicken. This is one of the more spicy dishes at Huen Muan Jai. It’s also possible to order this spicy soup with fish, which cost 130 THB.
Overall verdict: Huen Muan Jai is one of the best restaurants for exploring Northern Thai cuisine. It serves such traditional meals that it’s very hard to find similar dishes in Chiang Mai. I would recommend you to try these unique dishes, instead of the more mainstream dishes such as Khao Soi. Due to the uniqueness and its popularity, it’s highly recommended to make a reservation. Huen Muan Jai is open from 11:00 - 21:00, except on Wednesday, when it’s closed.
Huen Muan Jai is also listed in our food recommendations app called TopTravelFoods. This app is completely free and is available for both iOS and Android. Instead of only recommend good restaurants, TopTravelFoods recommends the best food these amazing restaurants have to offer. So when you are on your trip to Chiang Mai, you never have figure out what is good or not. Just simply see the rated and reviewed dishes, recommended by fellow-food-lovers. Would you like to know what people think of Huen Muan Jai? Check out the restaurant review page of Huen Muan Jai. Here you can find all the restaurant information you need, such as opening times, location, menu, atmosphere pictures and prices.