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Northern Thailand Dishes

Thai Food Dishes in North Thailand

The food in Northern Thailand is different to the Isan food, but in the North they also use Sticky Rice – same as in Isan.

One of the most common food dishes in the North is Rice Noodles with Spicy Pork Sauce (Kanom Jeen Nam Niao).

A regional delicacy is the Northern style ‘Chili dip’ (Nam Prig Aong) which is used as a savoury dip with fresh vegetables.

Other popular dishes are Streaky Pork with crispy crackling (Cap Moo); Northern Thai Spicy Sausage (Sai Ua) and another Northern specialty – Green Chili Dip (Nam Prik Num which is used as a dip for the crispy pork).

A ‘normal’ North Thailand breakfast, is based around sticky rice (khao gnai), which for farm workers, is normally cooked early in the morning, packed in a wicker basket made from local bamboo splints or palm leaves, and taken to work where it is also the main ingredient of the farm worker’s lunch – Khao Ton.

A normal Khantoke tray is shown with an assortment of dishes to complement the sticky rice staple food. The sticky rice is kept in a wicker container seen to the top of the image.

Khantoke Food Tray for Northern Thai foodDinner – Khao Lang – is similar, with sticky rice again served with other foods and served on a raised wooden tray known as a ‘Khantoke’ The tray is up to 30in dia and holds the different food dishes served in bowls or on plates.

'Khao' is the Thai name for rice.

Winter in the North of Thailand is normally cold – very cold for Thais. So the food diet changes a little to help the body to withstand the cold. Fatty foods are the norm, cooked long and done well.

One of the main ingredients that give Northern food it’s distinct flavour, is Glyci8ne max. Merr. This is a special strain of Soy bean, which is fermented and normally bought from the local market. It is added to the cooking for a regional flavour. This is only used in the North.

Northern Thai food is a local specialty which is not often found in other parts of Thailand – other than Bangkok, which tends to cover all Thai food tastes.

Traditional Method of Serving Food in Northern Thailand

Traditional Thai Khantoke Used in Chiang Mai ThailandThe festive tradition of food serving is an important cultural distinction of the North of Thailand. There is a tradition dating back centuries, but still practiced today of serving food on a large tray known as a Khantoke.

It is made from wood or rattan, and normally painted red.

Families, friends and visitors are seated on the floor on mats, and the trays of food holding several dishes are placed within easy reach.

Not always easy for westerners to sit or squat on the floor, but well worth the effort if you really want to feel the north Thai hospitality. The ornate Khantoke shown above would be normally be used for special events or to impress a 'VIP' visitor! Kudos is very important in Thailand.

This way of eating is a 'cultural heritage in the North, and one you should experience when visiting. A traditional way of eating that will not to be forgotten.