Thailand has far more to offer than just the bustling city of Bangkok and the sandy beaches of Phuket. Bordering Laos and Myanmar, Northern Thailand is known as the birthplace of much of Thai culture (including food, of course!), and travelers love its green scenic views, too.
Chiang Mai is the largest city in Northern Thailand. Not only do travelers flock to this city for the ancient temples and accessibility to elephant sanctuaries but also for the cuisine. Think you know Thai food? Ha! Think again! Chiang Mai isn’t the destination for Pad Thai, it is THE place for veggies, pork lovers, and extra crispy dishes!
Let’s talk about the most POPULAR and TASTY Northern Thai dish. Khao Soi is so distinct to the Chiang Mai region that it is RARE to find in other parts of the country, even Bangkok. Yes, Bangkok. Sadly, that means I have been unable to find the northern classic back home in the United States.
What is Khao Soi
Khao soi has a red curry broth, mildly spicy and flavorful, and for creaminess, a splash of coconut. Protein in the soup is always tender, slow-roasted chicken or fried pork (I opt for chicken!) Flat, yellow, chewy wheat noodles are submerged at the bottom of the bowl. It doesn’t stop there—Khao Soi is all about the toppings! Flat wheat noodles, dry and crispy, are stacked on top, and a do-it-yourself topping platter includes lime, roasted chili sauce, shallots, and pickled mustard greens. These toppings didn’t make sense to me either, but I recommend throwing them all in! You won’t be disappointed.
I visited Chiang Mai with the intention of checking the Northern favorite off my bucket list. Little did I know that I would be eating the meal for lunch and dinner. . .
Khao Soi Hotspots in Chiang Mai
1. Wui Lai Market – Khao Soi Vendor, Address: Chiang Mai Gate, Price: 40 Baht ($1.22)
2. Local Khao Soi Street Vendor, Address: Wua Lai and Huay Kaew Soi 2 Road, Price: 30 Baht ($1.00)
3. Khao Soi Wulai, Address: Wulai Road, Price: 30 Baht ($1.00)