The ultimate guide to eating this delectable condiment.
As we explore the vibrant flavours of Northern Thai cuisine, it’s time to take a peek inside the typical Northern Thailand kitchen, packed with fragrant herbs, fruits and vegetables, pork in various guises, and rice-based carbohydrates.
Vibrant Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs
- Betel leaf: Aromatic leaves used to wrap bite-sized bundles known as Mieng Kam.
- Bird’s eye chillies: These fiery little chillies aren’t for the faint-hearted.
- Cabbage: Crunchy cabbage leaves are served with the classic Northern Thai dish of Nam Phrik Ong—a rustic chilli dip with vegetables for dipping.
- Galangal: This aromatic rhizome adds a gentle warmth to soups, curries and salads
- Jackfruit: Durian’s more mild-mannered cousin, this firm yellow fruit smells and tastes like a tropical holiday. When ripe, it’s used in desserts or eaten as a snack; when green, its meaty texture is ideal in curries
- Kaffir Lime: These perfumed leaves are essential for Larb and other salads.
- Lemongrass: Another essential herb, lemongrass imparts a gentle citrus note to salads, soups and curries.
- Turmeric: Adds its mellow spice and bold yellow hue to one of Northern Thailand’s signature dishes, Khao Soi Noodle Soup.
- Tamarind: Northern Thais love a sour tang in their food, which is why tamarind is a must-have in recipes like Northern Thai Hang Lay Curry.
- Sai Oua: Fermented pork sausage flavoured with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime and chilli.
- Naem: Fermented over two days, this tangy pork sausage can be eaten raw or chargrilled.
- Deep-fried pork skin: This crunchy crackling is used to garnish curries, soups and salads
- Moo Ping: Chargrilled pork skewers.
- Mince: Minced pork and chicken are popular choices for the tangy salad Thai known as Larb. In Northern Thailand, Larb is often served raw, gently cured by the citrus.
- Sticky rice: Made from glutinous rice, sticky rice is preferred over steamed in the north, where it’s used to scoop up sauces and curries, or served with mango for dessert.
- Khanom Jeen noodles: These slippery white noodles are made from fermented rice, served with sour broth or curry sauce.