Thursday, March 24, 2011

What to eat in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai strawberries. What strawberries used to taste like in the U.S.

Chiang Mai, like many cities, has food items that are specialties of the area. While there are plenty of restaurants to satisfy the tourist's palate, there are certain local items not to be missed.

One of these dishes is Northern Thai Khao Soi (curry noodle soup). The mild thick curry soup is usually served with chicken, or some other meat, and made with egg noodles. Originally from Burma, it has been adapted and modified by the Thais and has become a staple in Chiang Mai.
It generally contains red curry paste, phom kari (mild Thai yellow curry powder), garlic, coconut milk, ground pork, turmeric, sugar, lime juice, and stock. Accompaniments include chopped shallots, pickled cabbage (phak kaat dong) and lime wedges.

Another must try in Chiang Mai is Thai Northern Sausage (sai oua).

Sausages are quite popular in Thailand but Sai Oua is unique to Northern Thailand. It's a drier sausage made with pork, garlic, coriander, lime juice, lemon grass, galangal powder, shallot, shrimp paste, and chili peppers.

I would never recommend making sausages on your own, unless you're like our friend Pic back home who does it routinely. And he does a killer Sai Oua.

Sai Oua is readily available from street vendors all over Chiang Mai.

Street food is available all over Chiang Mai as it is throughout Thailand.
It's all safe to eat and always a great bargain. Above is a street vendor dishing up Pad Thai for a mere 20 baht (65 cents) per serving.

Steamed bread made with Palm Hearts.

Grilled Rice Cakes.

A Soup stall.

Grilled Squid.

So when in Thailand, and especially in Chiang Mai, try the street food.

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