Food: Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai was nothing like I expected, honestly, I’m not sure what I thought, but I was pleasantly surprised. Coming from Tanzania where we spent $9 for JIF Peanut Butter, it was overwhelming to find so many of our favorites for much less than what they cost even in the US. Our primary grocery store was Tops Market less than a half mile from the house.  We always walked to the story with our (2) reusable grocery bags and then took a TukTuk back to the house.

The Tops Market was located in the lower level of a mall. It actually took me a bit to find the entrance.  The main entrance of the store was located inside the mall, so you entered the mall, took stairs down and then accessed the grocery store. I later found a side entrance as well that allowed you to enter the Tops Market directly but from the back of the store.

The Tops was a very large western grocery store. There was a bakery, product section, meat counter, and then all the food packaged products down the aisle. Tops also had all the home and personal items we needed such as; paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap, lotion, shampoo, toothpaste, laundry supplies. It really the only store I went to in Chiang Mai.

Here’s my research data on Tops Market:
  • 8 apple varieties.
  • 20 packaged breads, including bread baked from the Tops bakery and other brands.
  • 13 milk varieties in the refrigerated section. There was also an aisle dedicated to packaged milk.
  • 8 long aisles.
Other comments about food in Chiang Mai:
  • We really enjoyed picking up lots of our favorites from back in the United States because everything was inexpensive. JIF, FruitLoops, PopTarts, Half & Half, Pretzels, A1 Sauce, Gold Fish — all the terrible food we haven’t eaten in months! During our stay, I also remember being very aware and surprised by the number of overweight children. At first, it was a little baffling, but after thinking about it more and after observing the grocery carts of fellow shoppers, I can tell you the Thai people also love all the shitty US food.  It’s just my assumption, but I would assume the increase in overweight children is correlated to the easy, inexpensive access to crappy food.
  • If you haven’t already, check out my check-in blog to see the kitchen set up in the Chiang Mai house. The kitchen was super rough, and I really struggled with cooking, so while we had access to lots of great, inexpensive food, it was challenging to actually cook meals at the house.
  • The rice and noodles selection was unlike anything I’d ever seen.  There was an aisle dedicated to pre-packaged noodles and a separate aisle devoted to rice.
  • It was fun to see holiday displays.  When we first arrived, all the Christmas goodies were still out and by the time we were leaving Valentines Day goodies were everywhere.

Here are some photos from the Tops Market:

^Entrance from inside the mall.

^Side entrance I discovered later.

^The salmon was A-mazing!

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