An Ode To Thai Street Food

Frequently I yearn for the delicious and very inexpensive street food from Chiang Mai.

Thai food is famous for its spiciness, but in northern Thailand, especially in the district of Chiang Mai, influences from Burma and China are distinct. These influences result in milder curries and more pronounced use of other ingredients such as ginger and turmeric. It is sinfully good.

There are a lot of night bazaars and market avenues in Chiang Mai, and you will find vendors set up everywhere offering some fantastic dishes. Here are some street food dishes you should try and take advantage of!

Pad Thai

Let’s start with the most famous Thai food, Pad Thai. Pad Thai is a stir-fried rice noodle, often with different toppings and sauces. Pad Thai is delicious and savoury, and the popularity of this dish speaks for itself. But you should still try it if you visit Chiang Mai!

Khao Soi (Egg Noodle Curry)

Khao Soi (or Khao Soy) is the most famous Chiang Mai food. It is a northern Thai noodle soup made with rich and spicy coconut curry and served with chicken or beef and two types of yellow noodles. The main ingredients are fresh red curry paste, turmeric powder and curry powder. The coconut curry broth has boiled and deep-fried egg noodles and chicken or beef. A plate of shallots, cilantro, lime, pickled mustard, ginger, and chilli paste always accompanies it. You can choose from beef, chicken, or pork khao soi.

Gaeng Hang Lay (Northern Pork and Ginger Curry)

Gaeng Hang Lay is a slow-cooked pork curry (usually pork belly and shoulder) with ginger, tamarind and Indian spices. This dish has roots in Burma and is similar to the massaman curry from Southern Thailand but without the curry milk. Some menus in Chiang Mai restaurants list Gaeng Hang Lay as “Burmese curry.”

Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)

Som Tam (or Som Tum) is basically shredded green papaya. Vendors first pound the chilli, tomatoes, garlic, and long beans into a mortar, then add the papaya, bruising it well to incorporate the flavours of the former ingredients. Finally, vendors add fish sauce, lime, sugar, and nuts.

Sticky Rice

This Chiang Mai street food is delicious. You will find different kinds of sticky rice in Chiang Mai, which usually has banana leaves wrapped around it. Some vendors combine sticky rice with fruits like Thai mango, but others combine the rice with coconut, violet rice, beans, or egg custard.

Fried Quail Eggs

Street stalls serving fried quail eggs are usually bustling. Vendors often mix the fried quail eggs with coconut milk, but you will also find booths that combine the eggs with fish and soy sauce. This unique dish is the perfect ‘dessert’ to cap a night of ‘street food’ shopping in Chiang Mai.

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