Elixir of the North

Colourful, aromatic and complex, a bowl of Khao Soi offers a delicious way to make your trip to Chiang Mai memorable.

Words: Sarita Urupongsa
Information & Photos: The Tourism Authority of Thailand

No trip to the North of Thailand is complete without a steaming bowl of aromatic, flavourful “Khao Soi”. Originally a staple among the Chin Haw Muslims and served widely in Myanmar and northern Laos, the version in Thailand is milder, with a curry sauce made rich and creamy with coconut milk.

Creating a perfect bowl of Khao Soi requires a great deal of skill. Cooks begin by finely slicing sheets of dough to make special flat noodles or “Sen Soi” before dipping them into steaming water or boiling oil.

But the secret of this dish lies in its bright yellow fragrant sauce, which owes its colour to fresh turmeric and its bouquet to the paste – a perfectly balanced combination of curry powder, dried chillies, shrimp paste and garlic. Diners usually get a choice of tender pieces of beef or chicken, usually the drumstick, to go with the curry.

A dash of lime, and slices of pickled cabbage, chopped shallots, fresh spring onions and a touch of coriander complete the delicacy. Apart from its delicate interplay of sweet and spicy flavors, Khao Soi also comes packed with nutrients thanks to the different spices in the curry paste.

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