Travel Talk

Cheap Eats in Chiang Mai $3.33US Lunch Challenge

Good day,

Let us discuss the important matter of “cheap eats” in Chiang Mai, Thailand. What started out as a routine stroll through the streets in slippers for cheap food has well, turned into this. First let us clarify that previously, I’d typically put a $5US cap on my lunches at work. I didn’t go to work for fun so why spend money while at work? Simply did not make sense to me, no it did not.

Suffice to say, back home, for $5 the most I could really get was the “sub of the day”,  you best believe the local Subway’s knew me, I was like staff almost, ok, not at all. That and a refreshing can of coke, oh how it was delicious. I decided to do an experiment today.

I went into the local food court and put down a whopping 100baht aka $3.33US. I wanted to see what I could get for my $3.33 which would typically still be less than what I spent back home. First off, you can easily do this on 35 baht. In order to spend the 100B and eat it all, I opted for the higher end dish aka 40 baht instead of 25-35 baht. Doesn’t sound like much but if one wanted to, you could get 4 dishes of 25 or 3 dishes with 35’s and 25’s, whatever, you do the math.

I picked up a beef and beef ball soup for 40 baht, I’d recommend the pork and yellow noodle soup for 35b over that any day, it was alright though. After picked up the fried rice and seafood / vegetable stir-fry for 40 baht, lots of good options for 30 or 35 baht, it was also “okay”. Finally to finish off the 100 baht, picked up a good sized banana shake.

So, $3.33 in Thailand will get you this (way more if not in a shopping mall), a 6 inch “sub of the day” at Subway in Canada and get this, not even 2/3’s of a coke in Norway… The question is, if you earn your income through random strangers that send you instant payments via email, why would you live anywhere else?

In the future, we will do other such challenges but as crazy as it sounds 100B is still too much, you can get very well fed on half of that. I will note that while in the cafeteria I had the pleasure of joining some other Canadians my age. They tipped me off to this Rasta dude who makes steaks from the back of his truck. You get a full steak dinner for 49baht. Supposedly the steak was delicious and it is right around the corner.

Last night, got a bag filled with mystery meat, a chicken burger and 1L of green tea for less than $2US. The bag of mystery meat was $0.33 and prepared by the distinguished gentlemen below. When hitting up a stall, try and get in behind a local so you see how much they pay and when it is your turn you point to what they did, very effective. The “Mystery Meat Man” is always out front and open late, I sense a strong business / friendship developing.


P.S: Just say no, no NOOOOOOO to “Street Sushi”, trust me, ok?

P.P.S: Monday = Lose your Lunch, RATS for dinner.

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