Although I continually gush about how much I loooove Thai food, aside from my recent post on eating blood and brief look at Southeast Asian fruits, I really haven’t shared much about the stuff. It’s intimidating. I mean, there’s SO MUCH OF IT. And what can I add that hasn’t already been said about Thai dishes, ingredients and their complex flavors, that hasn’t been said already? Everyone knows phad thai is good. Everyone knows green curry is good.
The thing is though, I still get excited to eat before EVERY MEAL. Even when it’s just my sticky rice in the morning (I get laughed at for eating straight, plain sticky rice with no meat or salad…I think I might be developing an unhealthy addiction to it…). And I want to post about it because, as with most places, most things here revolve around the food. So, I’m going to start small and try to focus. Everything you’ve heard about Thai food is probably true – it’s delicious, creative and – lucky for me – super, super cheap. I’m not going to try to ‘sum up’ Thai food – I can’t – but I can share a few things that are hopefully a little different.
Starting with Khao Soi.
Khao soi is a northern Thai curry soup that is high in the running for being my favorite Thai dish. No easy feat. It’s kind of a mix between a Thai curry, which unless you get a fried curry are usually pretty liquidy, and a soup. It’s spicy, rich and creamy – thanks to a good dose of coconut milk – poured over egg noodles and chicken, then topped with fried noodles, pickled greens, shallots, cilantro and lime. Along with green curry, tom kha and papaya salad, khao soi is a dish that best shows the trademark Thai flavors of sweet, salty, spicy and sour. Every dish is supposed to have some element of these flavors, but often in fried dishes they tend to be less apparent.
In the past month, I have taken several visitors to experience khao soi and have been on a bit of a personal hunt for the best bowl in Chiang Mai. While I think I’ve found it at a little shop in the backpacker part of town (of all places), I’m still up for taste tests.
To learn more about khao soi and check out a recipe go, visit Chez Pim at http://chezpim.com/cook/khao_soi_northe .