5 Local dishes in Chiang Mai you shouldn’t miss

So you’re planning a trip to the beautiful city of Chiang Mai, the most important thing next is to plan what activities and food you shouldn’t miss while you’re in town. Planing activities and local culinary experience should be done before choosing accommodations so we can plan our transportation accordingly.  And I would like to highlight the importance of trying the local culinary experience in Chiang Mai due to the fact that you can’t really find any other places in the world with the same kind of culinary experience. As I have mentioned before, Chiang Mai was once the capital of the Lanna Kingodm here, we have our own culture and tradition at that period of time while also taking a lot of influence from our neighboring Kingdoms. So you can expect to find the authentic Chiang Mai taste you won’t find anywhere else in Thailand. With that in mind, lets look at some of the must not miss dishes if you come to Chiang Mai.

5. Khanom Jeen Nam Ngeow

Khanom Jeen Nam Ngeow :

“Khanom Jeen” which mean rice noodle while “Nam Ngeow” means Ngeow curry. Combine these 2 phase together means “Rice noodle served in Ngeow curry”. It is believe that the Ngeow sauce originated with the Ngeow tribe that immigrate from Burma to the Lanna Kingdom at the time. They also brought their curry with them and top it on “Khanom Jeen” or rice noodle. And if you haven’t notice our culinary culture yet, in Chiang Mai, we eat everything with either rice or noodle.

What to expect:

Has the flavor of what you would expect from a tradition Chiang Mai dish. It is spicy from dry smoke chili giving it a really unique taste and smell you can’t find anywhere else, salty from the fish sauce, a bit of sourly from tomato and a bit of creamy from pork bone broth.

4. Nam Prik Ong

Nam Prik Ong :

Being named “Nam Prik” which mean chili paste but rather being a chili paste that normally would be eaten with sticky rice this is more like minced pork mashed using a mortar with chili paste. It is unique as a local dish due to the fact that most chili paste we have are vegetable based but Nam Prik Ong is very heavy on the protein side, it is also a dish that receive very little influence from our neighbors.

What to expect:

The key ingredient to this dish is “fermented Soybean” which gives it a salty taste and a very unique smell I can’t really describe. It is mixed and mashed with other ingredient using a mortar then simmer with tomato until it gets it creamy red paste texture.  It is sour from the tomato and many people like to add sugar for a little bit of sweetness. Added with pork skin as a side dish this is something you’ll definitely enjoy.

3. Nam Prik Num

Nam Prik Num:

If Ketchup is the condiment to french fries, Nam Prik Num is the condiment to Chiang Mai food. We basically eat it with everything, should it be fried pork, fried meat, pork skin, sticky rice or boil vegetables, you can always us Nam Prik Num as a condiment.

For me, if I’m eating anything fried, I will eat it with Nam Prik Num. I always have some Nam Prik Num stocked in my freezer that I can de-frost when I need it. As I’ve mentioned before earlier “Nam Prik” means chili paste and “Num” is the name of chili used for this condiment.

What to expect:

The key ingredient to this dish is the “Num” chili that needs to be either grilled or pan fried until it gets it rich smell. Then mix with other ingredient such as garlic and shallot using a mortar. The “Num” chili is all what gives it character here the creamy texture, the mild spicy taste and the incredible yummy smell.

2. Chiang Mai sausage (Sai oua)

Chiang Mai sausage (Sai oua) :

As a kid, I remember helping my mom make this at home so many times. It’s always enjoyable to know that after hours of  hard work putting minced pork into pork intestine would be followed with 3 days of Sai oua every single meal. I mean you can not get bored with this dish. Normally, you would eat it hot right from the oven or grill with some hot sticky rice. You can also fried it afterward for a more crispy version of Sai Oua and enjoy it with Nam Prik Num.

It is believed that Sai Oua originated from the Ngeow tribe as well. Copying the cooking method to preserve food used in Europe at that time, however, Sai Oua isn’t meant to be kept longer than 3 days.

What to expect:

It is minced pork with a variety of herbs, spices and curry put into pig’s intestine.  So you get a very herbal smell and spicy taste to lid your taste bud.

1. Khao Soi

Khao Soi :

This is one of my favorite dish that I have almost everyday at our cafe. It originated from the Chinese Muslim but at the time they didn’t add coconut milk to it. It became very popular after doing so. I highly recommend you try our Khao soi at Cafe Thaan Aoan.

What to expect:

It is based on hand cut rice noodle in curry base broth with coconut milk. Coconut really makes the differences compare to the other local dishes, adding another level of creamy and texture to this dish.

By |2020-01-10T19:30:46+00:00January 10th, 2020|Blog|

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