10 things to eat in Chiang Rai

Too much of Thai’s Tom Yam Koong or Green Curry? It’s time to try local Northern Thai food. Normally we call the food in this category as “Lanna Food”, where Lanna refers to ancient Kingdom which cover most part of Northern Thailand. The Lanna Kingdom doesn’t exist anymore but we still refer Northern Thailand part for example Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Phayao, Lampang, Nan and Phae to as “Lanna”. So Lanna food simply means the food that originated from Northern part of Thailand.

Khao Soi (Northern Noodle Curry)

Khao Soi is one of the most iconic dishes in Northern Thailand. Local people as well as tourists love this food. A mild, coconut based curry served over soft egg noodles and topped with crisp egg noodle.

Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao

‘Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao’ or  noodle soup or curry is a-must when you get a chance to be in Chiang Rai. Khanon Jeen means fresh rice noodles and ‘Nam Ngiao’ is spicy tomato infused broth. The combination of both becomes a uniquely Northern Thai noodle soup

 Kaeng Khanun (Unripe Jackfruit Curry)

A Northern Thai equivalent to the better known Tom Yum? Except not as delicious. The Kaeng Khanun is a hot and sour soup which infuses an added fruity flavouring of young unripe jackfruit and the Northern Thai favourite of cherry tomatoes.

Kaeng Hang Lei

This curry kind of dish is believed to originate from Myanmar but become a favorite dish for Northern Thailand, especially Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. It is the lease spicy among all other curries and is slightly fruity with tastes of tomato

Sai Oua (Northern Thai Sausage)

Sai Oua is more popular in Chiang Mai than in Chiang Rai, but you can easily find this dish in most market streets in the city. This tasty, spiced pork sausage is found everywhere in the North and is not to be missed.

Lap Moo

Lap moo is a favorite dish for almost all local people.There are 2 versions of Lap Moo, fresh (or raw), and cooked. Cooked Lap Moo or sometimes called “Lab Khua Moo” can be done by by stir frying it in a little oil. The cooked version is nicely flavored, but sometimes it can be oily for some people.

Pla Som

If the rest of the foods on here are great for beginner-level enjoyment, this fermented fish dish typical of the Isaan region might be considered intermediate-tier. Pla Som is believed to be originated from North Eastern Thailand (Isaan), it is one of the most popular dish in Phayao Province (70 kms from Chiang Rai) and you can find it easily in fresh markets in Chiang Rai.

Pad Makua Sawuy

One of the finest comfort dishes has to offer, a dish that just about every table orders, is stir fried egg plant, pad makua sawuy (ผัดมะเขือเสวย).

The word “sawuy (เสวย)” in Thai is a royal word for eating, and this dish has some royal history attached to it.

Nam Prik Ong

Nam prik is a kind of chile-based sauce or dip that can be found all over Thailand, while nam prik ong is a version from Northern Thailand made with dried chiles, ground pork and tomatoes. This recipe from Kanlaya Supachana of Brooklyn’s Chiang Mai isn’t subtle: Scoop up the dip with a piece of cabbage or cucumber, and you’ll get a blast of heat—but despite the burn, you won’t be able to stop eating it.

Kow Kha Moo

Khao Kha Moo is not only a favorite of Thailand’s Prime Minister (a celebrity chef), it’s also one of those ubiquitous dishes served by street vendors throughout Thailand. If you think it’s hard to make at home–it’s not! The recipe below makes a wonderful khao kha moo but be sure you get the right piece of meat.

I am a Thai travel consultant with 20 years of experience in providing tips and supports for leisure and business travel to Thailand.