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Northern Thai food

nasilemak Jun 9, 2011 06:21 AM

Where can i find northern Thai / Issan specialities in the greater boston area? What are the dishes to look out for?

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  1. Nab RE: nasilemak Jun 9, 2011 07:04 AM

    nasilemak, Northern Thai (chiang mai) or Northeastern Thai (Issan) ?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Nab
      nasilemak RE: Nab Jun 10, 2011 04:08 AM


      1. re: Nab
        Duxdad RE: Nab Jun 14, 2011 03:54 PM

        A couple of weeks back at Restaurant Depot I met a Thai family buying hard goods for a new nothern Thai (Chang Mai) restaurant they were opening in the Brighton area. The restaurant was to be named "Nothern Thai". No idea if it has opened yet.

        1. re: Duxdad
          Luther RE: Duxdad Jun 14, 2011 05:26 PM

          Damn, that is a hot tip

          1. re: Luther
            Duxdad RE: Luther Jun 14, 2011 07:48 PM

            The family is from Chang Mai and will specialize in food from the area. If anyone spots their storefront give a shout.

          2. re: Duxdad
            StriperGuy RE: Duxdad Jun 15, 2011 07:16 AM


        2. e
          emannths RE: nasilemak Jun 9, 2011 07:05 AM

          Issan sausage.

          1. Prav RE: nasilemak Jun 9, 2011 08:05 AM

            I think Dok Bua and S&I have Isaan (Isarn/Isan/Isaan) sausage, right?

            7 Replies
            1. re: Prav
              Nab RE: Prav Jun 9, 2011 08:34 AM

              Dok Bua, Montien, Thai Place have Issan snausages (aka sai-krawk-isaan).

              Montien, S&I, and I believe also Thai Place have Chiang Mai style snausages (aka sai-ua).

              It'll be nice to see this thread flourish with a good collection of regional Thai dishes and where they are available.

              1. re: Nab
                galangatron RE: Nab Jun 11, 2011 11:39 PM

                thai place only has sai krok isaan

                1. re: galangatron
                  melon RE: galangatron Jun 12, 2011 07:42 PM

                  I'm sorry to belabor the sausage point, but sai ua is one of my favorite foods.
                  Let us know if you see sai ua at either Montien or S&I! (or I will if I go first)
                  The only place I have seen it around here is Boda, in Portland ME!

                  1. re: melon
                    galangatron RE: melon Jun 12, 2011 08:00 PM

                    you can get sai oua at both montien and s&i thai. make sure you ask for the thai menu though. i would also recommend the sai oua at phien's kitchen in lowell

                    1. re: galangatron
                      qianning RE: galangatron Jun 16, 2011 04:20 AM

                      ditto the phien's kitchen sai oua love.

                      also, if you are ever in providence the mekong market on smith st. has fresh home-made excellent sausage for sale every saturday.

                      1. re: qianning
                        EATTV RE: qianning Jun 16, 2011 06:20 AM


                        1. re: EATTV
                          Nab RE: EATTV Jun 17, 2011 05:10 PM

                          Interesting sai ua to be found at Pad Thai Cafe (Thai menu). Forgot to axe em about Issan sausage.

            2. Luther RE: nasilemak Jun 9, 2011 08:39 AM

              Ah, the weekly NYTimes question... S&I, in addition to serving Issan sausage (either sliced with condiments, or in larb) has a bunch of other dishes that I understand are generally northern.


              5 Replies
              1. re: Luther
                Bob Dobalina RE: Luther Jun 10, 2011 05:21 AM

                Right - other than sausage (and lord, I hope Issan sausage does not look like snausage) what else characterizes Northern Thai?

                1. re: Bob Dobalina
                  emannths RE: Bob Dobalina Jun 10, 2011 05:31 AM

                  Sticky Rice, a Northern Thai restaurant in Chicago, has a section of their menu that's explicitly Northern Thai (link is pdf): http://stickyricethai.com/StickyRiceTakeOut.pdf

                  Lots of discussion and photos of this food on Chicago's LTH Forum: http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....

                  Also, they would use sticky rice instead of regular jasmine rice.

                  1. re: emannths
                    Bob Dobalina RE: emannths Jun 10, 2011 05:45 AM

                    Fried Worms?! Wow....Thanks!!

                    1. re: emannths
                      Nab RE: emannths Jun 10, 2011 06:31 AM

                      Sticky Rice - one of my favourites !

                      Most, if not all, of the regional Thai restaurants in Chicago (TAC, Sticky, Spoon, Aroy, etc) and some in LA (eg, Jitlada) have been translated by Erik M. referenced in the LTH thread who has been an extraordinarily important figure in bringing regional Thai cuisine to the general American public. A good idea to read up on his posts both on LTH and CH (LA and Chicago boards), though he's no longer active on either.

                    2. re: Bob Dobalina
                      nasilemak RE: Bob Dobalina Jun 10, 2011 05:57 AM

                      Pok Pok in Portland, Oregon offers a pretty enticing array of northern Thai dishes especially salads. Would love to see more of that on the local front.

                  2. MC Slim JB RE: nasilemak Jun 10, 2011 05:53 AM

                    Khao Sarn is fancier and less traditional than my favorites (S&I, Dok Bua, Rod Dee), but has a few Northern specialties on their menu: a coconut seafood curry, haw moak (unfortunately made with salmon instead of a freshwater catfish, but pretty fair regardless), and khao soi. It's still better than 90% of local Thai curry-from-can joints.

                    You also might want to have a look at Yoma, a Burmese restaurant in Allston, Phien's Kitchen, a Laotian place in Lowell, and local Khmer joints like Floating Rock (though I haven't been to their new home in Cambridge), Tepthida Khmer in Lowell, and Thmor Da in Revere. Their cuisines share some similarities with Northern Thai.


                    Floating Rock
                    485 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

                    Khao Sarn
                    250 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                    Phien's Kitchen
                    586 Westford St, Lowell, MA 01851

                    Tepthida Khmer
                    115 Chelmsford St, Lowell, MA 01851

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                      StriperGuy RE: MC Slim JB Jun 10, 2011 06:39 AM

                      Don't forget Mittapheap in Lynne as well for Khmer food.

                      Lynn, MA, Lynn, MA

                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                        lipoff RE: MC Slim JB Jun 11, 2011 08:45 PM

                        +1 for Khao Sarn's Haw Moak. From my understanding, both salmon and catfish are totally acceptable "authentic" fishes for this preparation. I don't like most of Khao Sarn's menu, but I love this dish and they do a good job with it.

                        A little closer than Chicago, Oregon, or even Las Vegas, I should mention that Lotus of Siam has opened a branch in New York City that is simply fantastic.

                        I like Mittapheap in Lynn, I used to go there more often , but I think Thmor Da in Revere is even better, if you can get there before they close. The new Floating Rock in Cambridge is a little different, but really excellent food with bright flavors.

                        Floating Rock
                        485 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

                        Khao Sarn
                        250 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                        Lynn, MA, Lynn, MA

                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                          galangatron RE: MC Slim JB Jun 11, 2011 11:45 PM

                          it's not traditional but you can also get haw moak made with chicken at khao sarn

                        2. galangatron RE: nasilemak Jun 11, 2011 11:33 PM

                          common dishes such as som tum, larb, and khao soy can be found at most thai restaurants. more traditional thai restaurants like s&i thai will have a better selection (sai oua, sai krok isaan, nam, gai yang, etc)

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: galangatron
                            EATTV RE: galangatron Jun 12, 2011 12:10 PM

                            The Thai Place has a few Isaan specialties and last time I visited the kitchen three ladies were from Isaan, spoke the dialect and would cook off the menu provided they had the ingredients. I put myself in their hands and they delivered a som tum w/a very very funky marinated pork the tang of which had transportational properties. TTP also has the fresh sai ua but not like the festering moo of Isaan. They might do the red duck larb Ubon style. (I'm gonna ask)
                            Northern specialties are tougher. Khao Sarn does do khao soi after a fashion but I'm still searching for a great version. Chiang Mai laab is also a different style with macquem, mace, and cumin in the chili paste and I will inquire after it.

                            Khao Sarn
                            250 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                            1. re: EATTV
                              galangatron RE: EATTV Jun 12, 2011 05:36 PM

                              thai place has sai oua? i just looked at the take-out menu and i only saw sai krok isaan

                              1. re: galangatron
                                EATTV RE: galangatron Jun 12, 2011 08:04 PM

                                I had sai oua there once last year but did not see it on the menu. The owner was in the service over there and he bought the place from his Thai wife's uncle. I had asked about strong tasting Isaan flavors and the sai oua and a funky fermented pork som tam were brought.

                                1. re: EATTV
                                  Nab RE: EATTV Jun 12, 2011 08:09 PM

                                  s&i also periodically not holdin' snausages. they did not have isaan or chiang mai snausages the other day. no snarfin snausages of any kind. bummer dude.

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