If you Google Khao Soi Khun Yai and view it on Google maps, it will show busy and probably with a waiting time of 30 minutes or so. We found that information very accurate.
I have to say I am extremely skeptical of places that are so hyped like Khao Soi Khun Yai. Waiting for a long time for some noodles or street food. A Khao soi will always be best crafted, home-cooked, and not prepared for masses of people ..
The aunties and grandma preparing and serving do their thing do, they don’t get stressed. They allow each serving to take its time. The meat is indeed cooked to tenderness, and the noodles on top are crunchy and tasty. The broth is not very sweet and the flavor leans toward the Indian curry lover. Surely this is one of the best Khao Sois in Chiang Mai. Is it worth the wait? Well, that will be up to you to decide after you tried.
For me I will not go to Khao Soi Khun Yai during rush hour again. If I knew I didn’t have to wait I would go again. But I know so many places where to get a great khao soi and it is not that fantastic that it makes it worth 30 minutes of waiting.
How to queue up at Khao Soi Khun Yai
If you arrive by car it is good if some passengers check if there is parking space inside, to begin with. They do have a fair amount of space for parking. Then you need to go to order and they will hand you a number and then you can start looking for space at some table. The crowd eating here is an interesting mix of young western flash/backpackers, elderly locals, “Bangkokians” that read the great reviews, and individual Asian travelers that likewise bought into the hype.
Don’t expect to get your khao soi very fast after you sat down, it still takes time. But yes you will get a very good Khao soi. If you are into Asian noodles soups make sure you order the noodle soup here(tom yam flavored) as well. I found that more worth waiting for than the khao soi. But then again I can’t really say if that has to do with the fact that it is hard to live up to the hype for the khao soi and the noodle soup came as a surprise.
Anyhow, if you go to Khao Soi Khun Yai, be ready to wait and be in a state of mind where you don’t mind the crowd. Also, do go and get some coconut ice cream after your meal if the vendor is there.
Read more about Khao Soi here and if you want to dig into its origins of it you need to go to Khao soi Islam.