Chiang Mai’s Khao Soi Samer Jai
Chiang Mai, the land of the Khao Soi (ข้าวซอย) welcomed me for the new year holidays, again. I really love the north of Thailand for their cuisine, the mountains and the cool weather at this time of the year. Girls are cute also. A few hours before my flight back to Bangkok where work was waiting for me, I felt guilty that I didn’t go to my favorite restaurant in Chiang Mai “Khao Soi Samer Jai” (ข้าวซอยเสมอใจ).
My two travel buddies gone already, I took the decision to confront Khao Soi Samer Jai and risk indigestion. Ordering a meager bowl of Khao Soi would have been lame when you take into account all the northern food this place has to offer.
The first dish I ordered is the Nam Ngiew (น้ำเงี้ยว), this stew with pork, tomato and ngiew flower. The broth was very light an not spicy at all. An excellent entree. The portion isn’t huge, but it’s perfect with all the other food I ordered.
Another northern dish that you cannot avoid is the sai oua sausage (ไส้อั่ว), boringly called also “northern sausage”. The sausage was packed with herbal flavors but overall was a tad too fat for me. I prefer my sai oua dry, but maybe that’s my problem.
Another one? Of course, the future of BKKJUNK is entirely on my shoulder, so let’s eat and review (and hit the gym at some point).
The other dish was another favorite, the hang lay (ฮังเล). A sweet and savory (and fat) pork curry from the gods. If you like massaman curry you will like hang lay. The moo sam chan (หมูสามชั้น) or “pork with three layers” has been simmering in the curry for who the hell knows how many hours to reach an exquisite texture and taste. And you will eat all the pork fat, all of it.
After these three dishes, I began to feel seriously bloated and sleepy (… the hangover probably didn’t help too). So I waited anxiously 45 minutes before deciding my next move. I couldn’t NOT order the Khao Soi if I wanted to write this article. So I ordered the beef khao soi (ข้าวซอยเนื้อ) at the joy of the staff that were obviously wondering why the hell I was squatting in their restaurant.
The creamy and ultra-rich bowl of curry came to me a few minutes later. It’s interesting to eat one of your favorite dish when you are not hungry at all. It puts in perspective the reasons WHY you like the dish. As I said, the dish is VERY rich and oily but it comes with lemon, red onions and pickled mustard leaves on the side. These are necessary to create a magical balance and harmony of flavors! With three other dishes filling my belly already, I don’t think I could have eaten the khao soi without toning down the richness of it with the lemon.
As I was not really hungry, I found that the beef had a lot of fatty (and tasty) pieces. I would have eaten it normally, but not in this case. But don’t get me wrong, this khao soi is divine!
So I got these four dishes and eaten for the day for 160 baht (5$US), isn’t cool? Khao Soi Samer Jai (ข้าวซอยเสมอใจ) is a very popular restaurant with locals and tourists. The place is quite big, but still get busy at lunchtime (it is open from 8:30 to 17:00).
The restaurant is located outside of the old town, on the other side of the river or a 15 minutes tuk-tuk ride.