Northern cuisine is one of the unique and distinctive Thai cuisines, both in terms of taste and presentation. Today, ThailandConnex invites you to explore the intriguing aspects of this regional cuisine.
Apart from well-known Northern dishes such as Khao Soi and Sai Oua, another iconic dish that represents Northern cuisine is Khao Kan Toak. Many people have probably tried this Northern-style dish before. In addition to its distinctive characteristics, it adds a touch of elegance and beauty, along with the aroma of the Northern region. Have you ever wondered why people in the North eat Khao Kan Toak?
One simple reason, without much historical evidence, is that Khao Kan Toak is used as a substitute for a dining table. In the past, Thai people used to sit on the floor and eat their meals. Khao Kan Toak, with its round shape and raised legs, allows people sitting around it to conveniently pick up food. As for the historical evidence, in ancient times, Khao Kan Toak was used as part of various ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, and housewarming rituals. It was used as a container for placing bowls of food and rice, following the tradition of the Northern people that has been practiced since ancient times. It was used to welcome and honor guests, creating a luxurious and prestigious atmosphere and to provide a warm and impressive welcome. The decorations placed on Khao Kan Toak change its name, such as "Kan Dok" (flower bowl) if flowers are added, and "Kan Tang" (tray bowl) if utensils are placed on it, and so on.
Regarding the food, Northern cuisine does not usually include sugar. Sweetness comes from the ingredients used in cooking, such as sweetness from vegetables and fish, while fat comes from animal oil. Additionally, many Northern dishes are high in fat, such as Nam Prik Ong, Gaeng Hang Lay, and Sai Oua, as they help keep the body warm in the cold weather.
The accompaniments and side dishes used in Northern cuisine also have special characteristics. Due to the majority of the region being in the highlands and close to forests, wild plants are commonly used in cooking or as side ingredients. For example, wild vegetables like Phak Kae, Bon, Banana pickle, and sweet leaves are used to create local dishes with various names, such as Gaeng Khao, Banana pickle curry, and Gaeng Bon.
What is the most delicious Northern dish for you?
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