Kao Soi Gai, you stole my heart in Chiang Mai.
This will most likely be my last (indefinitely) recipe inspired by my recent trip to Thailand. It’s the proverbial cherry on top, because it was my favorite dish I had while in Northern Thailand.
Before we left for the trip, one of our friends wrote on my personal Facebook page saying, “Make sure you eat all the Kao Soi Gai and mango with sticky rice as you can while in Thailand.”
Funny enough, we didn’t eat a single serving of mango with sticky rice (we focused more on the savory), but we did try Kao Soi Gai a few times and let me tell you: it’s incredible.
Every Sunday in Chiang Mai, they have this huge “walking street” open market with vendors lining the streets. Vendors bring anything from elephant pants (I snagged a few pairs, seen here) to food. And the food is by far the best food I’ve ever had in Thailand.
The street vendors make such authentic, heartfelt food that you can taste the authenticity in every bite. We ordered Pad Thai, papaya salads, and of course, Kao Soi Gai. Actually, the best food we had in all of Thailand was at this night market, on our second day of the 15-day trip!
This dish is really only found in Chiang Mai, it’s actually know as the “Chiang Mai Curry Noodle Dish.” When we flew to Southern Thailand, we couldn’t find it. Luckily, while in Thailand, we did a cooking class and learned about the fundamentals of Thai cooking, which include the “fantastic four”: galangal, lemongrass, chili, and fish sauce (or, as they called it: magic sauce.) Seriously, fish sauce is in practically everything!
While we didn’t make Kao Soi Gai in the class we took, the instructors passed along the recipe to me (I asked!) so that I could make it at home. And let me tell you: it’s all about the paste. The paste is key! Once you nail down the paste, freeze it, save it, and make Kao Soi Gai whenever you want.
I’ve written this recipe to try to accomodate a kitchen that might not have a mortar and pestle, but if you have a mortar pestle, this recipe is much easier, more authentic, and the flavors are more spot-on. Also, I changed this up a bit to make it a tad healthier:
- Used lite coconut milk instead of full-fat
- Omitted the crispy noodles that are usually on top (which are kinda the best part, but w/e)
- Omitted the chicken bouillon to reduce sodium and processed ingredients
- Omitted the palm sugar, because I didn’t think it needed it
Other than that, it’s totally authentic. And I have to say, I really really recommend going the extra mile to find an Asian grocery store to grab the proper ingredients to make this dish. It makes such a difference.
I actually went into Manhattan and took two Subway lines to find a Thai specialty grocery store. I walked in and immediately, the man behind the desk said, “Kob Kun Krab!” which means “hello” basically, and I was so excited to hear that phrase I practically shouted, “Kob Kun Kaa!” which is the female’s version of his hello. His eyes lit up that I knew the proper pronunciation and phrase!
It was a happy little moment.
Nutritional Information & Recipe
Weight Watchers SmartPoints*: 8 points
*These points were calculated using the official Weight Watchers SmartPoints calculator. We are in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers, we are providing this information based on popular demand.