Northern Thai Food

Then there’s the dark side.  Northern Thailand has its own food, most famous of which is probably kaow soi, though more typical would be nam ngieow, a hot murky tomato-based concoction served over khanom jeen or rice noodles, and which people here in Chiang Rai go ape-shit over.  Ditto for gaeng awm, something like lahp that apparently got lost and then rescued a few days later, older but wilder.  They also go ape-shit over som tam, which is shredded unripe papaya salad mixed with peanuts, tomatoes, crab, hot peppers, and only God knows what else.  He still ain’t tellin’. If you’re eating papayas to help promote bowel movements, this’ll get you there in a hurry.  Naturally it’s eaten with sticky rice to help repair the damage.  Does raw papaya sound strange?  Thais also typically eat their mangoes green.  Go figure.  By the time they get ripe, supermarkets are discounting the price and I’m stocking up.  Some varieties are actually quite tasty green, but I can’t help feel they’re missing the boat on this one, ripe mango being one of the finer flavors in the world.  So, if you like green mangoes, hot spicy raw papaya salad, and gut-slashing spicy noodles, then northern Thailand might be just the ticket for you, especially if you like Mexican food already.  Mexicans in LA are some of the best customers for Thai food in the not-so-fancy restaurants.