When you hear the name Thailand, you can’t help but to immediately think of lush rolling hills and serenity. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city lie small villages packed with locals relaxing by their homes. Even though beaches aren’t their specialty, the region leaves a lot to be desired. The Northern areas are primarily inspired by indigenous ethnic groups and the people are well-known to be friendly. Tea plantations and coffee are abundant in this area as well as fresh strawberries.
Northern Thai Food also known as Lanna food is well known for its tasty vegetable based dishes and deep fried tastes. These dishes aren’t dominant throughout Thailand or even Bangkok so you’ll be sure you’re getting authentic Northern cuisine. Here are some of our top picks:
- Leaf Wrapped Bites (Miang Kham)
We’re starting out the list with something fresh. Miang Kham packs a punch with its leafy exterior called Cha Plu. It’s usually served with an assortment of fillings from roasted coconut shavings to finely chopped shallots, dried shrimps, red bird’s eye chili peppers and even fresh garlic. It’s like an open faced salad that you pick up with your hands and pop into your mouth for a burst of flavor and freshness.
- Coconut Curry Noodles (Khao Soi)
Also known as the “Food of the Gods” this tasty dish has roots in Burmese culture too. This dish is also vegetarian friendly even though it’s usually cooked with chicken, beef and even pork. This creamy coconut noodle soup is topped with fresh greens including mustard leaves and a heaping sdishdddddpoon of chili oil. It’s best paired with a cold glass of iced tea or even an ice cold beer.
- Sticky Rice (Khao Niaw)
Northern Thailand not only boasts delicious deep fried and veggie-filled dishes but they’re also fond of their carbs. Sticky rice is usually paired with curries and even local sauces. This flexible side dish can also be eaten with sweet mangoes if you’re looking for a tasty dessert. Many people attest to eating sticky rice with mangoes and coconut milk often times served in a banana leaf but eating it on its own is also a treat.
- Spicy Noodle Soup (Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiew)
Kanom Jeen means fresh, thin rice noodles that boiled. This a much healthier noodle option for those that wish to satiate their noodle cravings without having to eat anything too deep-fried. It’s usually served in coconut milk or a fish curry base. The star of this dish is the tomato base which is slightly sour. If you’re looking for a spicy and sour dish that’ll ignite your senses, opt for Kanon Jeen Nam Ngiew.
- Pork Sausages From Chiang Mai (Moo Yor Chiang Mai)
This dish is a staple in Northern Thais diets as it can be paired with almost any dish. This chewy pork sausage is even a great appetizer and it goes great with salads or even sticky rice. Some people even eat it on its own to balance out the intense flavors of other dishes. Typically, you can also order this dish as a Thai pork loaf salad when visiting the Northern regions of Thailand. Best paired with a chili lime sauce with chunks of chilis.
- Green Vegetable Dip (Nam Phrik Num)
The best place to try out this iconic dip is in Chiang Mai. Many restaurants serve this dip and it’s famous for its spicy tanginess. It’s made up of shallots and an abundance of green chilis. Many locals admit to eating Nam Phrik Num with fried chicken or even fried spring rolls. It’s a favorite of many locals and can even be chowed down with a hard boiled egg. Yum!
When visiting Northern Thailand, you’ll be welcomed with beautiful scenery and savory foods. It’s home to many street food stalls where you’ll be welcomed by smiling locals offering you their best meals. For any occasion, there’s always a dish to suit your mood. Whether you want a light snack, a hearty meal or even a sweet treat, Northern Thailand is spewing with choices. Now all you need to do is make your way there. You simply won’t regret trying their diverse dishes and experiencing their rich culture.
For more information on savory dishes from other countries as well as travel tips check out Traveler Door.