The Salsa Kitchen Chiang Mai

The Salsa Kitchen Chiang Mai

The Salsa Kitchen Chiang Mai


You wouldn’t believe how much you begin to crave western food after days and days of Thai and South East Asian food for every meal.

I was determined we’d do all our shopping at the markets, eat lots of Thai food, and try and live like locals. And then you realise the locals eat fried street food for most meals, this starts to look less appealing.

Even North Nomad, a big fan of meats, isn’t too fond of the fried treats on sticks in Chiang Mai.

We’d tried another “Mexican” restaurant in Old City, which North Nomad was quite taken with. There was a lot of choice for him, but only one dish that stood out as vegan friendly for me. Mexican is usually the place where I’m spoilt for choice, and can usually eat with ease with North Nomad.

On a mission, I did some research for more Mexican style restaurants in Chiang Mai. And every search about Salsa Kitchen brought up rave reviews.

The Salsa Kitchen Chiang Mai

Before we arrived, I emailed the owner to see if there was much I could eat, after our previous Mexican experience in Chiang Mai. John Lee (who owns the restaurant with his wife) let me know that:

We have a number of dishes that are meat and dairy free. Vegan menu options include:

  • Chips and salsa
  • Chips and guacamole
  • Mexican bruschetta (specify no cheese)
  • Mango salad (this is normally shrimp-mango salad but I often eat without the shrimp and I think it’s just as good)
  • Winter squash soup
  • Veggie tacos (just be sure to specify no cheese or sour cream)
  • Veggie chimichangas (likewise, be sure to specify no cheese or sour cream)
  • Bean burritos (same as above)
  • Sweet potato quesadillas or veggie burritos (specify no cheese or sour cream)

All sides (Mexican red rice, pineapple-jicama salad etc.)  are totally vegan, as are all homemade salsas.)

Exciting, so many options for me and the meat-loving North Nomad!  And I noticed at the restaurant that there are a stack of gluten free options, too.

And I’m happy to say that all of the reviews were on point (did I just say on point? I hate myself a little for that…). This is some of the best Tex Mex I’ve had – even better than a lot we had when we lived in California!

The restaurant looks like a typical Tex Mex restaurant that you’d expect to see in America. Lots of red, candles, low-light, and Americana decorations.

The Salsa Kitchen Chiang Mai - Review by North & South Nomads

We ordered the chips and salsa to share, I ordered a margarita and the vegetarian chimichangas without cheese or sour cream. North Nomad ordered nachos.

The chips and salsa are delicious. Fresh tortilla chips are just so much better than the stuff you get in the supermarket.  And these chips come with a trio of salsas.

There’s the mild, chunky salsa, the hotter, chipotle salsa, and a sweeter salsa (which I think may have pineapple or jicama or both in it).  North Nomad is particularly taken with the chipotle salsa, and I’m a fan of the sweeter one and the mild salsas.

Our meals come out quickly, especially given the restaurant is quite busy.

The Salsa Kitchen Chiang Mai - Review by North & South Nomads

North Nomad looks a little panicked. His nachos do not look like traditional nachos, and he likes his meals to look like how he expects them to be.

Thankfully, he eats the entire plate, even with onions that he usually despises. It’s good, even though it looks different! To someone like me who likes neatness, these nachos are a dream.

My chimichangas arrive, and the meal is huge. After a month of small Thai portions, I’m not sure if I can fit it all in! But it seems I was up to the challenge.

The Salsa Kitchen Chiang Mai - Review by North & South Nomads

The flash fried pastry filled with veggies and beans were delicious. Again, they came with a trio of salsas, which I layered over the top.  And my margarita was amazing! It would be very easy to down a few in one sitting.

Desert is tempting, but we are full to the gills, and very happy with our meal. It’s definitely a restaurant we’ll visit again before we leave Chiang Mai.


Location: 26/4 Huay Kaew Road. Just down the street from Central Kad Suan Kaew shopping mall and across the street from the Shell Gas Station (free parking at Shell Station for customers).

Contact Details: 088-137-0291 email:

Opening Hours: Open daily from 11 am to 11 pm





12 thoughts on “The Salsa Kitchen Chiang Mai

  1. That is fantastic that so much is vegan–sometimes, authenticity isn’t best. We had a number of vegan and vegetarians and gluten free diners at the Mexican restaurant that I worked at–authentic mexican dishes have a lot of pork fat and broths, even if they don’t have milk–So it is a very fine line. I personally always like the cleaner flavors of the vegetable broths and non butter versions! This looks delicious, and I”m glad that you found the most round about way of finding good Mexican food.

    • Suz, I don’t even know what they’d give me in an authentic Mexican restaurant – maybe some rice, beans without broth, and a confused stare. We actually had a lady in Nevada say to us at once place when I asked if they had vegetarian options (I didn’t even say the scary ‘vegan’ word) and she looked at me like I was an alien and said “what do you eat if you don’t have meat?” hahahahaha.

  2. That food does look delicious…a good mexican joint is always worth the hunt! I would never thing to email the owner a head of time and that was incredibly nice of him to reply with all that information.
    Also, I’ve found myself saying “on point” lately and cringe a bit every time.

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  3. My family are all meat eaters except me. I’m vegan, but I cook meat just about every day for my family. I’m very limited when I visit our local Mexican restaurant. It’s great that you had so many options.

    • Ahhh Alli I didn’t realise you were a vegan in with your family. I’m much the same – Shawn is a staunch meat eater, so I have to cook meat for him. A lot of vegans go a bit nuts at me for this, but I’d rather him eat healthy food I cook than survive on processed microwave meals and delivery pizza.

  4. Looks pretty authentic as far as Mexican food in other parts of the world go. I found a Mexican restaurant in Tanzania once that was just different curries given names like “enchilads” or “taco salad” lol.

    • You know, we’ve never been to Mexico, so I don’t really know what authentic Mexican even looks like. The closest we’ve been is San Diego! And being vegan, nothing I have is truly authentic mexican. I love that they just renamed curries taco salad! lololol.

  5. Yum! <3 The salsas, mango salad and the sweet potato(! I'll have to try making that <3 ) quesadillas sound delicious! You're making me want chips + salsa!!

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  7. A very entertaining write up, if I find myself saying ‘on point’ from now on though I’ll have to blame you for putting the thought in my head 😉

    Always have high expectations about Tex mex food because it’s so easy to cook vegan versions well at home so it’s great when you go out and have a good experience.

    And we totally sympathize, empathize and wholeheartedly agree about the craving for a bit of western food (although sadly I’m not quite sick enough of eating fried things from the street yet!). I guess when we’re at home we do the same with eating Thai & Indian takeouts etc. plus, even my Thai friends go out for pizza or Japenese food every now and then do maybe you’re eating more like the locals than you think 😉


    • Haha. It is just the WORST saying. There are these Gen Z twin guys in Australia who are famous for basically pumping iron and going and posing at dance music festivals. I don’t know if they realise the whole world is laughing at them. Someone commented on their photo once saying “genetics on point” and I nearly died laughing. I started saying it just to amuse myself and now I fear it’s stuck!!!

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