Sawasdee torn chao (good morning) everyone! Now that you know more about travelling through the North of Thailand with our last article. As promised, let’s talk about a few dishes of the delicious Northern Cuisine.
Instead of Jasmine or the typical long grain rice (Khao Suay), sticky rice (Khao Niew) is the primary stable food of Northern and Northeast of Thailand. In the local Northern dialect, it is called Khao Neung.
If you have noticed a pattern here, the word for Rice is Khao.
Khao Soi is a must-try Burmese influenced noodle dish. Don’t be confused by the word Khao, it is not a rice dish. It is also a common word for “a meal” in Thai is also Khao as rice is the stable food of the nation.
Ask any Thai person, Khao Soi is easily one of the most recogniseable and popular northern dish. The noodles reassemble the likes of an Asian version of thin linguine and soup is very similar to a spicy and thinner massaman curry. Sprinkled with deep-fried crispy egg noodles, be sure to enhance the flavors with its accompanying garnish of finely chopped shallots, lime, pickled mustard greens and a little bit of the chilli oil. It is often serve with either chicken or beef so it is perfect for those of you who do not eat pork.
Nam Prik Noom
Green chillies are roasted by the light fire along side shallots, tomatoes (optional) and garlic. Depending on your recipe, it is then seasoned with salt/ fish sauce. Comparative to the Salsa of Central America, Nam Prik Noom is fantastic alternative. This Lanna Salsa is served with boiled veggies and is often complimented with grilled pork or Kaeb Moo.
Quick Lingo Tip:
Nam = Water
Prik = Chillies
Nam + Prik = Chilli Paste
Nam Prik Ong
Almost like a Thai version of the ragù alla bolognese but with red chilli paste. Enjoyed in a similar manner to Nam Prik Noom.
Perhaps the least healthy thing on this dish. If you like your pork knuckle or roast pork dinners with crackling/ pork rind. This is the Northern Thai version of just the good stuff, the crispy skin and fat. You can eat with sticky rice, dip it with Nam Prik Noom, Nam Prik Ong or basically with almost any northern dish. You can even have it by itself. Health nerds, we suggest you at least give it a go.
Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiew
Yes, you can also have this noodle dish with Kaeb Moo. Kanom Jeen or fermented rice vermicelli is found in many Thai dishes. However, it is the Nam Ngiew soup that makes it uniquely Northern.
The soup is made of pork ribs, shrimp paste/ fermented beans, diced curdled blood cake (pork or chicken) with the unique addition of the dried cores of the Bombax ceiba flower (cotton tree).
Although this dish was originated from the Shan state (part of modern Myanmar), it has been deeply embedded and has been a part of the traditional Northern cuisine for centuries.
Sai Ua is the Northern Thai version of a spicy sausage and it is a must try for meat lovers. Sai actually means intestines!
Gang Hung-Lay/ Hung-Lay Curry
Last but not least, Gang Hung-Lay. This beautiful heavily Burmese-influenced curry is not only delicious, but it has the reminisces of the historical ties between the Lanna and Burmese Empire in the olden days.
As you may have noticed by now, pork is a big part of the Northern diet alongside Khao Niew.
Gang Hung-lay is slow cooked with pork belly with numerous ingredients, making one of the toughest curries to make from scratch as it requires a lot of effort and patience in preparation. Its rich, sweet, spicy, salty and gingery texture makes it nothing like other Thai curries.
For those of you who do not have time to travel to the Lanna Kingdom, do not worry, we have a solution for you. Try visiting the Gedhawa Restaurant. It is very conveniently located in Soi 35 (same alley as the EmQuartier shopping mall) But be sure to make a booking with them before heading it, it can get quite popular on the weekends.
Quick Lingo Tip:
Gang = Curry/ Spicy Soup
Fun Fact: Gedhawa (pronounce Ged-tha-wa) is in fact a type of white cape jasmin that can be found in Northern Thailand.
Location for Gedhawa Restaurant:
Happy tasting everyone!
From all of us at Chao Hostel, Sawasdee krub!