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The most popular Northern Thai dishes


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Each region in Thailand offers a distinct and unique variety of dishes. Some of Thailand’s most delicious dishes come from the northern part of the country. Set among mountain valleys with a cool climate, Northern Thai Food is highly influenced by Burmese cuisines. In addition, it’s relatively mellow compared to Northeastern (Isaan) cuisine. Below, we’ve compiled some of our favourite Northern Thai dishes. 1. Khao Soi (Curry Noodle Soup) Khao soi is possibly the most popular Northern Thai food, and it should be on top of your list when trying Thai food. Mainly made of egg noodles and curry, the […]

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I want to try the northern Chiang Mai dishes more. Until now, I like and cook Isaan food. Why is the northern dish less spicy? I want to learn more.

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5 hours ago, spicy_girl said:

I want to try the northern Chiang Mai dishes more. Until now, I like and cook Isaan food. Why is the northern dish less spicy? I want to learn more.

It's just some of the northern dishes are less spicy, like pad Thai is less spicy. I've had nam phrik in CM that was every bit as hot as som tam in the south. Same with laab.

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My perfect meal  Moo Nam tok--khao neow and somtam--arroy dee!!!

Still upset they closed Isaan lan % across from CMU gate...was a really good spot

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7 hours ago, spicy_girl said:

I want to try the northern Chiang Mai dishes more. Until now, I like and cook Isaan food. Why is the northern dish less spicy? I want to learn more.

I have lived in Chiang Mai my most of my life. I was born here. The only dish I would recommend is the Kow Soi. Most shops do not make it well. Personally I think the best food is in the East and Southern parts of Thailand. The Deep South is known for very good curry.

Food in the north tends to be less spicy and use more oil and sugar. The Larb is often sweater than the East. Also the north is known for its fried foods. 

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16 hours ago, spicy_girl said:

I want to try the northern Chiang Mai dishes more. Until now, I like and cook Isaan food. Why is the northern dish less spicy? I want to learn more.

You'd love Hanglay/Hinlay (many spellings) curry and I make my own version with ~40 cloves of garlic, ginger and onion, liquefied and strained.  The pork then cooks in the liquid with solids reserved for thickening later, after browning in sesame oil with Hinlay powder (mainly ground mace) added for it's distinctive flavour.

To my mind, a good Hanglay curry is up there with the best, but not all restaurants make it the same and often it's too sweet.

One of the main differences in northern dishes is the use of evaporated milk compared to coconut milk which is common in the south where fresh coconuts are readily available.

NOTE: After using fresh coconut milk you'll appreciate the awesome flavour compared with canned stuff.

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8 hours ago, KaptainRob said:

You'd love Hanglay/Hinlay (many spellings) curry and I make my own version with ~40 cloves of garlic, ginger and onion, liquefied and strained.  The pork then cooks in the liquid with solids reserved for thickening later, after browning in sesame oil with Hinlay powder (mainly ground mace) added for it's distinctive flavour.

To my mind, a good Hanglay curry is up there with the best, but not all restaurants make it the same and often it's too sweet.

One of the main differences in northern dishes is the use of evaporated milk compared to coconut milk which is common in the south where fresh coconuts are readily available.

NOTE: After using fresh coconut milk you'll appreciate the awesome flavour compared with canned stuff.

I want to try that KaptainRob, thank you! And I agree about fresh young coconut not canned. I have to check here about ingredients. Just one small Thai supermarket. 

It sounds awesome 🥳

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8 hours ago, KaptainRob said:

You'd love Hanglay/Hinlay (many spellings) curry and I make my own version with ~40 cloves of garlic, ginger and onion, liquefied and strained.  The pork then cooks in the liquid with solids reserved for thickening later, after browning in sesame oil with Hinlay powder (mainly ground mace) added for it's distinctive flavour.

To my mind, a good Hanglay curry is up there with the best, but not all restaurants make it the same and often it's too sweet.

One of the main differences in northern dishes is the use of evaporated milk compared to coconut milk which is common in the south where fresh coconuts are readily available.

NOTE: After using fresh coconut milk you'll appreciate the awesome flavour compared with canned stuff.

Very true! Makes Massaman curry supreme!

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On 10/16/2021 at 4:32 AM, Wormwood said:

I have lived in Chiang Mai my most of my life. I was born here. The only dish I would recommend is the Kow Soi. Most shops do not make it well. Personally I think the best food is in the East and Southern parts of Thailand. The Deep South is known for very good curry.

Food in the north tends to be less spicy and use more oil and sugar. The Larb is often sweater than the East. Also the north is known for its fried foods. 

Thank you @Wormwood, I found the khao soi online. It sounds good! I want to try next time I visit Thailand :)

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On 10/16/2021 at 1:53 AM, JamesE said:

It's just some of the northern dishes are less spicy, like pad Thai is less spicy. I've had nam phrik in CM that was every bit as hot as som tam in the south. Same with laab.

Some dishes are spicy, some not. I understand. I think maybe depends the restaurant too. There is good and bad nam phrik.

Do you think restaurants give the not spicy food to us if we are not Thai?

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1 minute ago, spicy_girl said:

Some dishes are spicy, some not. I understand. I think maybe depends the restaurant too. There is good and bad nam phrik.

Do you think restaurants give the not spicy food to us if we are not Thai?

Sometimes that is the case as many have the opinion it is only Thais that like spicy food, but no problem if you tell them beforehand

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14 minutes ago, spicy_girl said:

Do you think restaurants give the not spicy food to us if we are not Thai?

As @gummy says there's an assumption that non-Thais don't like hot and spicy. I think the bubble is a little bigger and encloses all of SE Asia. But most of the time I've found that most cooks make most dishes with amount of spice the dish needs, so even if it's hot it's not too hot. Not like here in the US with their silly star system: One through five stars depending on how hot you want it. ("I want that FIVE star!" "Sir, you know this is white rice?") The only reliable exception is som tam, because of the chili oil that soaks into the krok it's always too hot (I know, I'm a wimp) so I just ask them to leave out the peppers.

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  • 11 months later...

The first time that I ever ate Miang Kham was in Pattaya. It was years before I found it again. Absolutely wonderful the way all the flavours and textures work together.

Northern sausage and  Isaan sausage can be sooo tasty, but only if you find the right seller/maker.

The first time that I tried Nam Prik Ong was from a market in Chiang Rai. Bought in a bag for next to nothing and took it back to my hotel room. Ate it with Doritos. Finished the bag and went back to the market to buy another. So disappointed that I can't find it anywhere except the North. I did find a lady in Khon Kaen that made it specially for me and it was wonderful. Unfortunately she moved to Australia!

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On 10/17/2021 at 7:57 AM, JamesE said:

As @gummy says there's an assumption that non-Thais don't like hot and spicy. I think the bubble is a little bigger and encloses all of SE Asia. But most of the time I've found that most cooks make most dishes with amount of spice the dish needs, so even if it's hot it's not too hot. Not like here in the US with their silly star system: One through five stars depending on how hot you want it. ("I want that FIVE star!" "Sir, you know this is white rice?") The only reliable exception is som tam, because of the chili oil that soaks into the krok it's always too hot (I know, I'm a wimp) so I just ask them to leave out the peppers.

They do the 5 star as sort of a protection for the restaurant and almost will never make it 5 star spicy anyways!

 

My wife works in Thai restaurants and so many people say they want it very spicy then can't eat it

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On 10/17/2021 at 7:26 AM, spicy_girl said:

Some dishes are spicy, some not. I understand. I think maybe depends the restaurant too. There is good and bad nam phrik.

Do you think restaurants give the not spicy food to us if we are not Thai?

As I said above, a lot of people overestimate how spicy they can eat

So the restaurants feel they can always add more spice but can't make it less spicy once 

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  • 1 year later...

Of course, my favorite Northern food is Khao Soi. In northern Thailand there are many Khao Soi restaurants. Nowadays, some people are trying to come up with their own recipes that are different. which still maintains the original flavor But there will be some different ingredients and appearance.

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  • 2 months later...
On 12/22/2023 at 3:04 AM, jojoe said:

In northern Thailand there are many Khao Soi restaurants

My favourite spot in CM without question is Khao Soi Khun Yai. I've had plenty of absolute dog shit khao soi all over CM and some very very good ones too, but I would do very bad things to very good people for a chance to have a bowl of Khao Soi from Khun Yai on most days.

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1 hour ago, ThaiFoodGuy said:

My favourite spot in CM without question is Khao Soi Khun Yai. I've had plenty of absolute dog shit khao soi all over CM and some very very good ones too, but I would do very bad things to very good people for a chance to have a bowl of Khao Soi from Khun Yai on most days.

I just found Khao Soi 2 years ago

 

And Khao Soi Khun Yai is so far better than any other I have tried....

 

The reason is a lot of Khao Soi really is a gut bomb to me

 

But that Khao Soi Khun Yai seems so much lighter

 

I would have it right when it opens and then be off for whatever day adventure I was getting into

 

I couldn't do that with other Khao Soi

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  • 1 month later...

 

Quote

 


Hi,


Northern Thai cuisine tends to be less spicy than Isaan cuisine for a few reasons: cooler climate, cultural influences, and ingredient availability. Northern dishes focus more on aromatic herbs and balanced flavors. Popular dishes to try include Khao Soi, Sai Ua, Gaeng Hang Lay, and Larb Kua.
 

 

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This will not be a popular view, but, in my humble opinion, Thai food is vastly over rated, often tasteless, often too spicy, too much sugar and/or salt,  and often just plain disgusting.  Some dishes are palatable, but there is too much mediocrity around, especially on the street. Compared to India and its street food, Thai doesn't come close to what can be a quality experience. 

P.S Chinese food is even worse, the World over, but especially in China. 

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