Whilst Thailand is known throughout for its many great foods, and lots of people stick to the same tried and tested dishes, there are some specialities from the north of the country that you’ll no doubt love too.
An ideal place to try many different dishes is at a lively Khantoke dinner show – where guests sit down to a shared feast of numerous different delights.
Some top northern Thai meals to sample when in Chiang Mai include:
A tasty northern curry, it’s great for people who like their food to be more on the mild side. Made with coconut milk and noodles with a satisfyingly crunchy topping of crispy noodles you can customise the exact taste to meet your own preferences using an array of condiments and sauces. You’ll find bowls of Khao Soi in restaurants and also at street stalls.
Gang Hang Lay
Although actually a Burmese dish, this curry became popular in the north of Thailand due to the influence of ethnic communities who brought their recipes over the border from neighbouring Burma. Not spicy, it combines a tremendous combination of sweet and sour tastes to really make your tongue tingle. Tamarind and pork are two of the main ingredients and it is usual to eat this dish with sticky rice.
Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao
Rice noodles in a spicy tomato soup are what make up this northern noodle delight. A variety of different ingredients may be added, including pork balls, cabbage, bean sprouts, and lime.
Yet another mouth-watering curry, Gang Khanoon has a sweet and spicy flavour. It is made using jackfruit that isn’t quite ripe, along with tamarind, tomatoes, and chillies. Different vegetables are often added and it is normally eaten with balls of sticky rice.
More of a snack or an accompaniment than a meal in itself, Tua Nao is a type of fermented soybean cake that can trace its beginnings back to the north. Wet and dry varieties are available, with the wet type being cooked over a fire whilst wrapped in banana leaves and the dry type left uncovered to bake in the sun. Before being cooked, in either way, the soybean paste may have chillies, salt, and other seasonings added.
A spicy pork sausage, it is often also referred to as Chiang Mai sausage. Ever-present in markets and at street carts, you can also find it dished up in restaurants.
A neat little snack, ingredients are mixed and wrapped in a leaf for a bite-sized taste of northern Thai flavours. In some places you can wrap your own, whilst others serve them pre-wrapped.
Although this dish originated in the north east of Thailand and Laos, it is also popular in places around Chiang Mai. Traditionally, minced pork is served cold as a salad, with spices and fish sauce. The versions sold in the north of Thailand differ slightly, however, in that it has neither fish sauce nor other sour flavours. Different spices and chilli create the flavours and it is common for congealed animal blood to be used as well as the actual meat. It’s served with sticky rice and vegetables.
Yum Rok Wua
Now, this is a bonus addition to the list, purely for its unusual nature. You won’t find it on menus around the city and it is unlikely that you would class this as a delicious meal to try … This meal comes from olden times and is made using a cow’s placenta (yes, the after birth!), which is cleaned, chopped, and boiled. Chillies, fish sauce, and lime are added and it is served with fresh salad vegetables.
Do you have any particular favourites when dining in northern Thailand? Is there anything on this list that you are absolutely burning to try?