The Most Popular Dishes From Northern Thailand

From spicy salads to sour curries, Northern Thailand has its own distinctive cuisine
From spicy salads to sour curries, Northern Thailand has its own distinctive cuisine | © Chisanu LIENGPAN / Alamy Stock Photo
Iona Proebst

Some of Thailand’s most delicious food hails from the north. Northern Thai food, also known as Lanna food, is influenced by Yuannanese, Shan and Burmese cuisines and is characterized by salty and sour flavours. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular Northern Thai dishes for you to try.

Love Thai Food? Eat it for every meal on Culture Trip’s 10-day adventure across Northern Thailand, led by a dedicated Local Insider.

Khao Niaw (sticky rice)

Although not technically a dish, khao niaw needed to make the cut, as in Thailand no dish is considered complete without rice. In Northern Thailand, steamed sticky rice is preferred to boiled jasmine rice and is ideal for mopping up curries and spicy local dips.

Naam Phrik Ong (chilli dip)

Northern Thailand is renowned for its chilli dips. Naam phrik ong remains one of the favourites with pork, tomatoes and Northern Thai additions of fermented shrimp and soy beans. Naam phrik ong is served with steamed vegetables and, you guessed it, sticky rice.

Khao Soi (creamy coconut curry noodle soup)

Arguably the quintessential Northern Thai dish, khao soi is a Burmese-inspired coconut curry noodle soup. Available in chicken, beef, pork or vegetarian options, this mouthwatering dish has a rich coconut curry base and is garnished with deep-fried crispy egg noodles, pickled mustard greens, shallots, lime and ground chillies fried in oil. Khao soi should be on every travellers’ must-eat list in Northern Thailand.

Sai Oua (Northern Thai sausage)

Sai oua, also known as Chiang Mai sausage, is a particularly famous Northern Thai speciality. This delicious spiced pork sausage is infused with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chillies and galangal. You can find sai oua in many local street-side stalls. Warning – you may become addicted!

Laab (spicy salad)

Laab is a northeastern-style salad with meat or mushroom and mint which originates in the northeastern province of Isan. Laab comes in a variety of styles including chicken, pork and mushroom. It is not recommended for those who can’t handle spice as it tends to come with a kick.

Miang Kham (leaf wrapped bites)

Miang kham is the perfect way to sample the flavours of Northern Thailand. This cha plu leaf snack is customisable with sweet, sour, salty and hot flavours to suit your tastebuds. Ingredients usually consist of shallots, chillies, ginger, peanut, coconut and lime, culminating in the perfect Northern Thai taste sensation.

Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao (northern noodles)

Fresh rice noodles mixed with spicy tomato broth form khanom jeen nam ngiao. Optional additions are minced pork balls or coagulated pigs blood. Necessary condiments include lime, bean sprouts, pickled cabbage and deep-fried pork skin (kap moo).

Kaeng Hang Lei (northern pork curry)

Kaeng hang lei is mild on the spice spectrum and is highlighted by tender pork pieces and fruity tomato. This Burmese-infused dish includes a variety of spices including turmeric, tamarind, ginger and garlic.

Kaeng Khanun (unripe jackfruit curry)

This unique spin on a tom yum is both hot and sour. The flavours of unripe jackfruit, cherry tomatoes and bits of pork make kaeng khanun well worth a try. While not as popular as khao soi or some of the other curry dishes, kaeng khanun offers a different flavour experience.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.