Chiang Rai, Thailand’s northernmost province, is always one of my favourite getaways. I like to check out a local market, which is just a five minute walk from my place.  It is not a big market but it is full of local touch that I love. The locals sell their produce such as cabbages, egg plants, some local vegetable and fresh water fish. The food here is not only fresh but cheap. I found some typical foods and desserts that I would like to share with you (just in case you visit this lovely town one day).

Local food in market 3

One afternoon, while I was wandering in the market, I found a brown square dessert wrapped in banana leaves.  It looked interesting.  I stopped to asked for the name of the dessert. It is called ‘Khanom Pad’ or ‘Khuan Khao Med’ of which refers to the making process of stirring rice and granulated brown sugar on medium heat until the ingredients are well mixed and dried up. It is, then, poured into a tray and left to cool at room temperature.  It is usually cut into small square chunks and topped with salted grated coconut fresh. This typical dessert is typically found in various parts of northern Thailand. It pairs well with  hot Chinese tea.

Local food in market 2

Since Chiang Rai is home to various ethnic minority groups, it is not surprising to find exotic food in the market. Tai Lue is one of lesser-known ancient tribes scattering in northern Thailand. They have fascinating traditions, including unique cuisine. ‘Khao Soi Noi’ and ‘Khao Ram Fuen’ are two of Tai Lue foods I found at the market. Khao Soi Noi is a sheet of steamed rice flour stuffed with minced pork and assorted vegetables. You can eat it as it is or spice it up by topping it with spicy sauce. Khao Ram Fuen is a deep fried sugar pea flour. It is a popular snack among the locals.

Local food in market 4

Another interesting native here is ‘Khao Kaan Chin’ or ‘Khao Ngieaw’.  Ngieaw or Tai Yai is a name of a group of hill tribe living here. They are known for Khao Kaan Chin, steamed rice mixed with hogs blood and minced pork seasoned with salt and pepper. It is usually served in banana leaves. It is eaten with fried shallots or garlic and fresh vegetable like cucumber or parsley.

Local food in market 1

Trying local food is part of fun things to do when visiting a local market. Next time you come here, I recommend you have a bite to experience the local flavour.