Northern Thailand is covered in hilly terrains and lush forests. Ingredients are derived from this rich geography, with diverse vegetation as well as forest game and foraged items playing an important role cooking. The region has also long been an important trade route to Southern China, Laos, and Myanmar. As such, Northern Thai Cuisine is rich with diverse culinary influences, including the culinary traditions of various tribes living along trade routes and remote hills.
Northern Thai dishes are known for their aromatics and a focus on spiciness, saltiness, and sourness. Sweetness is not often emphasized in Northern cooking. Food are served in unique tray tables known as khan tok (ขันโตก). Receiving guests with specially prepared set meal arranged in khan toks is a charming Northern custom that continues to this day. The staple of the North is sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice.
Famous dishes from the North include: khao soi (ข้าวซอย) – curry noodles, sai oua (ไส้อั่ว) aromatic sausages, and nam phrik noom (น้ำพริกหนุ่ม) – roasted chili paste.
From top right: 1. khao soi 2. sai oua 3. nam phrik noom 4. gaeng hung lae
- “Thai Food: Thai Culture Heritage”, Department of Cultural Promotion, Ministry of Culture: http://book.culture.go.th/thaifood/mobile/index.html#p=1
Written By: Tayud Mongkolrat