When you first walk into Pinky Milk (or Nom Chomphoo in Thai), you’d be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled into a cartoon-like alternate universe. The name is appropriate — everything is bubble gum-hued, from the walls to the tables to the massive strawberry milks being served up. It’s also (not surprisingly) packed with students from the nearby college. (Fun fact: Even among the university crowd in Chiang Mai, you’re likely to hear “Want to go for a milk?” as much or more than you’ll hear “Want to go for a beer?”).
The shop’s specialty is over-the-top icy desserts, from slushy drinks to towering, sundae-like concoctions. Made from ice milk (not ice cream), they come with a variety of decadent topping options like Oreo cookies, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sauce, cornflake cereal (which is what our Urban Adventures guide, Buddy, recommends), bananas, and probably any other treat you could think of piling on top. At the base is soft, squishy bread that soaks up the ice milk as it melts at rapid pace in the sweltering Chiang Mai heat.
While bread might seem like an odd ice cream base, it’s a standard dessert throughout Thailand. Don’t be surprised to see toast with butter, honey, caramel, or chocolate as a dessert option at many restaurants. Even 7/11 — the most ubiquitous store of Thailand — has chocolate sandwiches for sale along with its usual collection of cheese toasties.
Be warned: Pinky Milk a place only for those with a serious sweet tooth. We’re talking full-on, total saccharine-level sugar. And while all the kids in the place will be ordering up one sundae each, you may want to share yours with a friend or two — not just because of the ache you might get in your teeth but because of how quickly it melts. Yet, while the syrup is sweetness overload, the milk itself is quite light and refreshing — a far lighter option than ice cream, for sure. Just maybe ask them to go easy on the toppings.
No, we take that back. Just go nuts and get it all, piled sky-high. We won’t judge; but we might make you share with us.
How to find it: East of the Chiang Mai Technical College on the north side of Wiang Kaew Road, between Sri Poom Soi 4 and Khang Ruan Jum Road, in Chiang Mai Old Town.
What to order: nom nakhaeng (ice milk).
Chiang Mai’s old city is the prettiest place in town – and also the best area for grabbing delicious Thai food. But with all the tourist restaurants in the ‘hood cooking mediocre khao soi and bland som tam for backpackers, it can be hard to find the good stuff if you don’t know where to look.