Northern Thai Food: Don’t Forget the Sticky Rice…
Everybody loves Thai food–pad prieow wan, tom yam goong, gaeng kari, or maybe pad thai–but that’s central Thai food, with strong Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences.
Northern Thailand has its own cuisine, though, also. For most tourists, that means ‘khao soi‘, a curry-and-noodles concoction that is actually Burmese, not Thai at all, and cousin to the biryani-like khao mok gai, both product of the previous long-term Burmese occupation. Food conquers where armies fail.
For the northern Thai food connoisseur, though, nam prik ong and nam ngieow are standard ‘comfort foods’ (actually nam ngieow is something more like a true Tai ‘khao soi‘ as opposed to the Muslim version it’s more famous for). Then there are numerous versions of larb (lahp), both raw and cooked, pork and chicken, that some people meatier than I find extremely tasty. But there’s more, and my favorite is a little front-yard stall up on Kampaengdin Street in Chiang Mai, where the tuk-tuk drivers eat. Here you can even get fish larb, something I’ve never seen elsewhere, and best eaten with sticky rice. You heard it here first.