Every Saturday morning, tucked away in the trees at the end of Rural Road, there is a proverbial gold rush. Over 100 people, mostly Asian tourists, get up with the sun, take a ride to the edge of town, and queue up in a parking lot for a wooden gate to open. The reason, amazing bread.
You may have come across Nana Bakery before, as there are a few locations in town. But, you may not know about their weekly pop up. It’s held in a little… I don’t really know how to describe this setting. Think outdoor gated market meets summer camp. They start selling at seven AM and finish by eleven; line forms at 6:30.
The reason people are going to all this trouble is because this pop up has things the other bakeries don’t stock; not to mention all the things they do. It is both early and far, but the good stuff is worth it.
When you arrive you’re given a tag with a number and letter. This is to hold your place in line. They go by two groups of 25 for each letter in alphabetical order. This is nice so you can enjoy the other parts of the market like the ubiquitous pour over coffee truck or European grilled sausage stand; maybe make a lanyard with the camp counselor.
All the standard items at any of Nana’s locations are here, and they are all high quality, but the Saturday specials are really something great. This is where they get to do the harder to make and more niche baked goods that couldn’t be sold everyday.
The brioche was the best I’ve ever had. Full stop. You could tell it’s texture just by looking at it, a gradient from rich soft yellow to deep glossy brown. Soft and supple it smelled slightly sweet and was almost begging to complete its metamorphosis into French toast. If you go, I suggest you oblige this request.
If you’ve never had a kouign amann before here would be a good place to try it. Imagine a croissant roll with a caramelized bottom. I haven’t found them anywhere else in Chiang Mai, but they’re so rich I think once a week is fine.
On this trip to Nana Jungle, I came a French pastry I’ve never heard of before, a palet breton cookie. The only why I can describe it is a “puck of deliciousness”. I’m sure a lot of butter was used. I’m sure the decorative pattern on top is to indict what part of France it’s from. I’m sure I’ll be getting it again.
If you came here and only bought one thing, I’d say you have to go with that brioche. But then aging if you came here and only bought one thing, you’re not really doing this place right. Grab a friend, wake up early, get the aforementioned drip coffee or sausage, sit on the picturesque lakeside bench behind the madness, and then act like a kid in a candy store. This is how it should be done. Come here with the full intention of spending a few hundred baht and leaving with sweets to last through Monday.
The Owner also seemed like such a sweet lady that obviously really cares about what she makes.
Open: 07:00-11:00 Saturday
The Good Stuff Chiang Mai