Northern Thai cuisine has alot of chinese influences, note the way we eat is the sharing method with all the dishes in the middle with or without a separate spoon. Everyone helps themselves to whats available and eats from their plate. Steamed rice is served separately on each person’s plate but people who prefer sticky rice may have their own little container of piping hot sticky rice for themselves. Northern Food is somewhat bland in flavor due to the chinese influences so very much not that spicy. A typical thai meal consists of a veggie / herbs basket, chilli dips, veggies, rice and maybe a soup. It was too hot so we omitted a soup today.
On my trip to Chiang Rai – northern part of Thailand, about 2 hours drive from Chiang Mai i stayed in sick during a marketing survey trip. I wandered about 2 minutes from my hotel i found a quaint little shop selling this Khao Soi… (Now Curry noodles are my least favorite, i think noodles should stay in a clear broth and coconut cream or milk should belong only in the curry genre and eaten with rice) I admit, i hate curry noodles….. Then the sign caught my attention.
Since 1929 you say…. Now it’s 2013, that’s 84 years old. They must have something great, i thought. Adjacent to the sign was the pot of boiling broth and the condiments. Since they are Islamic food, there were 2 options of chicken or beef.
I ordered a beef Khao Soy and sat down looking at other customers. They seemed to be enjoying their noodles which is a good sign. And i admit, it did smell really nice. Now Khao Soi is an interesting fusion of thai, chinese and indian influences. Thais and chinese do not use spices like in indian foods and which taste same way. Thai curries and Indian curries are vastly different This was the perfect example of how 3 cultures mixed together, curry, noodles and thai chilli paste all in a bowl. It usually consists of egg noodles, chicken or beef, broth, coconut cream accompanied with lime, pickled vegetables and shallots, topped with fried egg noodles for a crunchy texture. It used to sound horrific to me, seriously, i’m a purist i’m not a fan of fusion food. But…..
It was beyond delicious, the broth was beefy, the hint of curry and coconut cream balance was just right. The lime and chilies that i added in help accentuate everything, it was so good i was shocked for a while. When i regained my composure i ordered 30 sets to bring back to Bangkok for my staff. Now i had a fever, cold and real bad headache. I got a foam box, packed in ice, packed in everything and carried it with me and flew back to Bangkok. It was that damn good. No wonder they stayed open for so long. And guess what… It costs about 1 usd…. Or well 1.10 usd.