Explore Northern Thai Cuisine
Thailand has an amazing cuisine with each region having its own signature dishes and styles. Thailand can be divided into four main regions, the north, the northeast, central plains (including Bangkok) and the south. This blog is all about the North region, maybe there are some dishes in here you are unfamiliar with? Continue reading to find out!
The north of Thailand has a cooler climate and shares borders with Laos to the east and Burma to the west. The cuisine up north is very different from the rest of the country because of the climate and influencers from neighbouring countries. The North has always had a really strong regional identity which differs considerably from the south and central Thailand. Here are a few of the many amazing dishes that is home to the north region.
Khao Soi is a creamy coconut curry noodle soup that has some Burmese influence. The dish is boiled egg noodles in a rich coconut milk base soup garnished with crispy deep-fried egg noodles. Pickled mustard greens, shallots, lime and chilli are all fried in oil and added to the dish. Chicken, beef, pork are all popular meats to be cooked in Khao Soi and I'm working on bringing out a recipe for you to try as Mae Jum's Thai Yellow curry paste makes a great base.
In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out Thai Apron, which has a variety of Thai meal kits that are perfectly portioned for you to cook at home. This Khao Soi image above is just one of the many delicious meals that have to offer. In the box are the fresh and high-quality ingredients, as well as an easy to follow recipe and QR code for a video for guidance.
No dish is complete without rice...sticky rice that is! Khao niaw is extremely popular in the northern region and its ideal stickiness is perfect for mopping up any sauces or chilli dips. It is often sold ready-cooked at the markets and it can be spotted easily as they will be wrapped up in banana leaves parcels.
Nam Prik Noom/Ong
A green chilli dip that will blow your mind at first taste. Nam Prik Noom is a Chiang Mai favourite. The dip is made from roasted chilli, garlic and shallots and mixed together well until soft. Usually served on a smaller saucer surrounded by cooked or fresh vegetables and sticky rice. The fiery green chilli dip can also accompany snacks like Thai sausage “Sai Ua” and crispy puffed pork “Kap Moo”.
If you can’t handle the spice, then try Nam Prik Ong as an alternative. This dip is made with grounded pork, chillies, garlic and shallots with the addition of tomatoes. The fresh tomatoes in the dips give it a milder and smoother taste compared to Nam Prik Noom. This dip is also enjoyed the same way, eating with vegetables and sticky rice. While both these dips are furtherly enjoyed across Thailand, their roots are in the north region.
Another popular Northern Thai dish is, of course, Kaeng Pa (Jungle curry). Traditionally it was made with ingredients found in the jungles of Thailand, usually made with wild meats such as wild boar. Now it’s more commonly prepared with meat like pork or chicken. Kaeng Pa is super spicy with a thin curry broth that has a distinctive bold flavour!
Some of the herbs and spices in the curry paste are lemongrass, peppercorn, galangal, kaffir lime rind and lots of chillies. Make yourself a Jungle curry using Mae Jum Thai Jungle curry paste here. The image below is from our traditional Jungle curry recipe using Thai ingredients such as Thai eggplant and pea aubergines, you can find the recipe here! Other great vegetables to cook with are green peppercorn, baby corn, green beans and aubergines.
This northern Thai sausage is from a mix of meat and aromatic herbs. The combination of pork mixed with an amazing blend of herbs and spices such as galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves with a little bit of Thai red curry paste. The meat mix is the stuff into an intestine case (traditionally) and wrapped into a coil to be grilled to a beautiful golden brown colour! It is truly one of the most flavoursome sausages in the world!
Morden versions of Sai Ua can be shaped into meat patties, meatballs, or caseless sausages. So you can give these sausages a go at home! Other than grilling, Sai Ua can be baked and fried and can be consumed as a snack, appetizer, or accompaniment to main dishes. Sai Ua is a staple of northern Thai provinces, especially Chiang Mai, where it is available at numerous street stalls and markets.
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