Savoring Chiang Mai : A Food Lover’s Guide  to Northern Thai dishes

Welcome to Chiang Mai, where ancient culture and rich traditions blend beautifully with culinary craftsmanship. Nestled in the lush landscapes of Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is not just the cultural capital of the region but also a haven for food enthusiasts. From vibrant street food to exquisite dining experiences, our city offers a taste of something truly unique - Northern Thai cuisine.

Signature Dishes of Northern Thai Cuisine

Khao Soi - This iconic Northern Thai noodle dish is a must-try for any visitor. Khao Soi consists of deep-fried crispy egg noodles and boiled egg noodles, submerged in a mouth-watering curry-like sauce made with coconut milk. It is typically served with pickled mustard greens, shallots, lime, and ground chilies fried in oil. Each spoonful offers a burst of flavors that encapsulate the spirit of Northern Thailand.

Sai Oua (Northern Thai Sausage) - Known for its distinct aromatic and spicy flavor, Sai Oua is a grilled sausage made from ground pork mixed with a variety of herbs and spices, including lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and red curry paste. It's a staple at local markets and a beloved snack by locals and tourists alike.

Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiaw - A noodle soup that’s particularly popular in Northern Thailand. It consists of thin rice noodles served in a spicy broth made from tomatoes, minced pork, and dried flowers from the cotton tree, which give it a unique flavor. Often topped with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and crispy pork skin, it's a dish full of texture and depth.

Gaeng Hang Lay - This is a Burmese-influenced pork belly curry that is a staple in Northern Thai cuisine. The dish features pork belly slow-cooked in a curry paste that includes ginger, garlic, tamarind, turmeric, and a variety of aromatic herbs. It’s slightly sweet, tangy, and deeply savory, making it a comforting meal, especially when served with sticky rice.

Lanna-style Grilled Chicken (Kai Yang) - This grilled chicken is marinated in a mixture of local spices including turmeric, lemongrass, and galangal, giving it a distinct flavor different from other Thai grilled chickens. It's often served with sticky rice and spicy dipping sauces.

Kaeb Moo (Crispy Pork Rinds) - Popular across Thailand but particularly loved in the North, crispy pork rinds are served as a snack or with a bowl of rice and curry. They are also commonly used as a crunchy side with spicy dips like Nam Phrik Num.

Nam Prik Ong - This spicy tomato and pork dip represents the heart of Northern Thai food culture. It's a savory, slightly spicy dip that is typically served with sticky rice and fresh or steamed vegetables. Nam Prik Ong is perfect for those who want to explore Thai flavors beyond the usual fare.

Nam Phrik Num (Northern Thai Green Chili Dip) - A spicy dip made primarily from green chilies, shallots, and garlic, this is a staple condiment in Northern Thai cuisine. It's typically served with sticky rice and an assortment of boiled or fresh vegetables.

Moo Yor (Pork Roll) - Moo Yor is a Vietnamese-influenced pork sausage that is popular in Northern Thailand. It is made from ground pork mixed with garlic, pepper, and other spices, steamed until cooked, and often served sliced with chili sauce or used in soups and salads.

Larb Kua - A variation of the famous Thai salad larb, this version is stir-fried rather than served raw. It typically features minced pork, though it can also be made with chicken or beef. The meat is flavored with a mix of lime juice, fish sauce, chili, and local herbs such as mint and cilantro. Unlike its Isaan counterpart, Larb Kua is cooked and has a slightly smokey flavor.

Tam Khanun (Jackfruit Salad) - A unique salad made from young, unripe jackfruit which is shredded and pounded with a mixture of garlic, chilies, and tomatoes. This is then stir-fried and mixed with pork or chicken, creating a dish that's both spicy and hearty.

Kaeng Om - A lesser-known but flavorful Northern Thai curry, Kaeng Om is a herbaceous and spicy dish made with a mixture of meats (commonly chicken or beef), local herbs, and vegetables. It's quite similar to a stew and is celebrated for its depth of flavor.

Street Food Delights

Chiang Mai’s street food scene is vibrant and offers an array of dishes that are as affordable as they are delicious. Stroll through the bustling night markets where you can indulge in everything from sweet, creamy Kanom Krok (coconut rice pancakes) to savory Miang Kham—a traditional snack that wraps aromatic ingredients in leaves.

Culinary Tours

Join one of our guided culinary tours to experience these flavors first-hand. Our local guides will take you through the hidden alleys and lively markets of Chiang Mai, where you can taste and learn about the intricacies of local cuisine. Discover how the local people bring together ingredients and techniques that have been passed down through generations.

Interactive Cooking Classes

For those who wish to take a piece of Chiang Mai home, many Youtube cooking classes are the perfect solution. Learn from local chefs who are passionate about sharing their culinary secrets. You’ll get hands-on experience making dishes like Khao Soi and Sai Oua, and gain insights that go beyond the recipes into the philosophy of Thai cooking.

Explore Chiang Mai’s Cuisine with Us

At All Chiang Mai Tours, we believe that to truly understand a culture, you must taste it. That’s why we offer more than just tours; we offer culinary ideas that dive deep into Chiang Mai's food scene. From the first bite of tangy Som Tam to the last sip of aromatic Thai iced tea, we ensure every taste is memorable.