Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Khao Soi

Almost every restaurant we walked by in Chiang Mai had gorgeous, colourful menus outside to look through, so it was easy to decide where we wanted to eat, and what we wanted to order.

But, I'll make it even easier - if you ever decide to visit order the khao soi!

Northern Thai food is different than the Thai food you typically get in North America.  The cuisine is strongly influenced by Burma/Myanmar, and Laos, and the most popular dish is khao soi, which can be found on pretty much every menu.

We actually first tried khao soi in Las Vegas at Lotus of Siam, which was the only Thai restaurant we had ever seen it at.  We fell in love with it, and decided to visit Chiang Mai because of this amazing dish.

The broth is a combination of a Thai red curry with an Indian curry, and then it has noodles, meat (usually chicken, but you can also get beef or pork), and crispy egg noodles on top.  It is served with a plate of pickled veggies, shallot, chilies, and lime, and all of these things need to be added for the full taste experience.  It is the epitome of flavour, and we could not stop eating it.

After eating khao soi at numerous restaurants, we have to say our favourites were from Khao Soi Khun Yai:

And Khao Soi Mae Sai:

Both are little outdoor restaurants that have been there forever, and are frequented mostly by locals.  And at $1.75 a bowl, you might just need to go back for seconds.

I miss khao soi already, but you better believe we'll be working to perfect this dish at home.

How is your week going?
Have you ever traveled somewhere specifically for the food?
If you had to pick one place to travel to, just based on the cuisine, where would you go?

The Coffee in Chiang Mai

We learned very quickly that presentation is everything in Chiang Mai, and time and care was put into each beverage, and each meal that we had.

We watched as workers spent ten minutes masterfully preparing our kombucha at a breakfast restaurant, adding all sorts of ingredients, straining things, shaking things ...

And then there is the coffee culture; Chiang Mai is bursting with the most adorable, unique, and creative coffee shops.  They are absolutely everywhere, and we only hit a few of them.  There are some where you enjoy your coffee in a tree house, or at a table in a stream, or in tents around a campground-like setting.  Those we'll have to visit next time.

We did get to Chom, where it's like having coffee in a fairy garden.

And Ristr8o, where they take coffee more seriously than anywhere we've ever been.  They have placed and also came in 1st place in many world championships for latte art.

And now I see why ...

We stopped in a few times to try all sorts of delicious coffees.

And they are not the only place that takes coffee seriously - every coffee shop seemed to put extraordinary time and effort into each cup.  We also noticed that all the coffee shops served their coffee on a platter, saucer, or coaster, they always gave us water on the side, and sometimes a little cookie as well, and they almost always brought the cream/milk out steamed and frothed. 

Into the Woods:

The Barisotel:

Random coffee shop in the mall:

Sip and Repeat (Tea Tales):

We only ordered a cup of tea, and a cup of black coffee, but they also gave us welcome drinks (iced tea), and a slice of cake.  No matter where we went, the service was just unreal.



Rustic and Blue:

And Outside In:

There were also a couple more, but my phone crashed on our last flight home, and I lost everything on there, including some of our better photos from our trip, and loads of other pics 😩😭

We didn't see a single coffee pot during our entire stay.  Beans were always ground fresh for each cup of coffee, and brewed to order, using a variety of different methods, depending on where we went.

Of all the cities we have visited, we've never seen a coffee culture like there is in Chiang Mai.  There are so many cool coffee shops we still want to visit one day.  That being said, the locals love their Starbucks!  One guy told us it's just because of the brand name.

Getting back to the good service ... even the spa (which I visited six times - so cheap!!!) brought me a tray of goodies at the end of each treatment.  Tea, ice cream, watermelon and cookies:

So sweet.

What is the coffee scene like in your city?
What is your favourite coffee shop?