Guest Feature: Utsanee Treeyawarakul
The regions of Thailand each have different, but distinctive tastes and styles of food. There are of course influences by bordering countries and traditional dishes upheld.However I wanted to find out a bit more about the food culture of the north and some of the ingredients that went into the dishes. I was grateful to Utsanee Treeyawarakul a northern Thai lady who’s passionate about her regions food for giving me her time to answer a few of my questions.
Over the next few posts Utsanee describes her 3 favourite northern dishes,what delights she would put together for a Thai dinner party, 3 must try northern dishes for visitors and her favourite places to eat in Chiang Mai.
Trevor: Can You Give Us Your Full Name Please
My name is Utsanee Treeyawarakul
Trevor: Can You Tell Us Your Line Of Work
Utsanee: I am a middle level manager in a modern trade company. My function is to serve the Board Of Directors responsible for ensuring that a company complies with the SET & SEC Ministry of commerce regulations and maintains standards of corporate governance.
Northern Thai Cuisine
Traditinal Northern Thai Cuisine
Trevor: What Are Your Three Favourite Thai Dishes?
Utsanee: 1) My first choice and very much my favourite is the delicious Gang Hanglay
Gang Hanglay: Delicious Northern curry: แกงฮังเล
This is a popular curry of the North and its a curry that actually contains no coconut milk at all and more often than not is cooked with pork meat. This massively popular curry of Northern Thailand came to the North via the Burmese immigrants that came to work in the teak industry in the 19th century. It can of course be eaten with white rice, but to do it justice and get the real authenticity of the dish serve with traditional Northern sticky rice.
The dish contains pork, shallots, garlic, soy sauce, turmeric, shrimp paste, dry chillies, ginger, fish sauce, galangal, lemon grass and hanglay curry paste. Simply delicious.
My Aunty and my Grandmother are both experts at cooking this Northern traditional Thai curry.
2) My second choice would be Ab Jin Moo
Ab Jin Moo: แอ๊บจิ้นหมู
This dish consists of pork, egg, Kaffir lime leaves, Coriander, Onion Shallots, Pepper, Garlic, Lemon Grass, Turmeric Slices, Srimp Paste and Salt. The ingredients are finally all mixed together and wrapped in banana leaves. For best results skewer and cook over a fire in barbecue style for about 30 – 45 minutes.
3) The final choice would have to be Khao Soi Noodles
Khao Soi: Delicious Egg Noodles With Meat: ข้าวซอย
Khao Soi noodles are immensely popular and a speciality dish here in the North of Thailand. They are really quite delicious and consist of egg noodles with either beef or chicken in a soup like base. Other ingredients consist of Shallot wedges, sweet and spicy pickled cabbage, lime, garlic, turmeric, curry powder and a red chilli sauce. The ingredients may vary as there are several versions of Khao Soi noodles.
Khao Soi Noodles
Trevor: When in Chiang Mai I often have Gang Hanglay at one of my favourite restaurants. The restaurant I use is Aroon Rai and it does a superb Gang Hanglay. In fact it does a superb everything as the food is always incredible. The restaurant has been there for about 45 years and the flavours have always been maintained. The place has no airs and graces to look at, but the food speaks for itself and of course the amount of customers that always use it.
Aroon Rai Restaurant, Chiang Mai
Another place to taste some of the many Northern delights is at a Kantoke evening. Kantoke combines some traditional northern cuisine, culture and dancing. It may well be slightly touristy, but you do get to sample the delightful traditional food of the north.
The dishes often include Pork curry with ginger (Gang Hanglay), grilled young chilli paste (Nam Prik Oon ), crispy rice noodles, crispy pork skin, steamed vegetables, sticky rice, fried chicken and afterwards Fried bananas and seasonal fruit. Yes, quite a banquet. The eating style is in the breaking off of sticky rice, rolling them in to small balls and dipping in to the bowls of sauces and curries.
Kantoke Chiang Mai
I went to Chiang Mai and other northern places many times and did not get around to trying Khao Soi noodles. However last year in February 2012 I was in Lamphun and finally tried them. They certainly have many flavours and were extremely enjoyable. Next on my list will be to try Ab Jin Moo when I am back in the North.
Coming Very Soon
Don’t miss the second part as Utsanee talks about what she would give her dinner guests if putting together a Thai dinner party.
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