7 Northern Thai Dishes that Will Reinvent a Food Delivery Favorite

Posted by on Monday, August 25th, 2014 with 8 Comments

Thai cuisine is one of the most popular food delivery staples across the country. And if you’re like most Americans, plates of pad thai, bowls of curry, and spring rolls dipped in peanut sauce tend to be your go-to orders… but while all of those are delicious dishes, that’s really only scraping the surface of what Thai food is all about. There are two major types of Thai cuisine: the southern style, which is heavier on curries and influences from India, and the northern kind, which is much less commonly served in Stateside restaurants. Northern Thai food tends to be a little funkier, a little spicier, and a lot less familiar to our American palates.

khao soi

Khao soi is a delicious introduction to the world of Northern Thai food delivery.
Image source: Flickr user ryansnyder

Want to liven up your Thai food delivery orders and try some new dishes? There’s no better place to start than by learning a little about the overlooked, underrated, and utterly delicious Northern Thai cuisine! Here are a few quintessential dishes to get you started:

1) Khao soi Khao soi is a popular street food in Northern Thailand, and an incredibly tasty introduction to this regional cuisine! It’s a curry-like dish with egg or wheat noodles in a creamy, turmeric-tinged orange broth, usually accompanied by bone-in meat (chicken or pork), and topped with fried noodles and a diner’s choice of pickled greens, chile paste, and shallots.

2) Gai yang This simple dish is straightforward and delicious: chicken roasted over a charcoal grill, charred to crispy perfection with a marinade that usually involves lemongrass and garlic, among other locally-varying combinations of spices.

3) Som tam A papaya salad might sound a little strange, but after tasting som tam once, you’ll be sold. Shredded green papaya, chiles, garlic, and (traditionally) fish sauce or dried shrimp combine to make a fragrant salad with a spicy kick. And if you’re looking for a healthy Thai food delivery order, look no further than som tam — assuming you can handle the heat.

4) Sai ua Every cuisine worth its salt has a traditional sausage, and Northern Thai is no exception. Sai ua, commonly known as “Chiang Mai sausage” after its hometown, is made from minced pork and chiles, usually with hints of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves to cool the spice.

5) Khanom jin nam ngiaw  This hearty stew is made with khanom jin, a vermicelli-style rice noodle, which float in a pork and tomato broth spiced with chiles and herbs. While the spice level of khanom jin nam ngiaw can vary widely depending on the chef, you can help cool the flavor with the wedge of lime, bean sprouts, and pickled cabbage traditionally served alongside. 

6) Nam phrik  Like chutneys in India and hummus in the Mediterranean, Northern Thai cuisine has a family of sauces and relishes that are served alongside vegetables (and sometimes sausages) for dipping. The wide umbrella of nam phrik (sometimes spelled nam prik) includes varieties such as nam phrik num, a somewhat spicy green paste, and nam prik kaphi, a fiery sauce of chiles and fermented shrimp paste — whichever you choose, it’s the perfect way to start a Thai meal in the office.

7) Tom saep Tom saep makes use of leftovers like bones from pork or beef, offal like tripe, liver, or spleen, and herbs that are prevalent in Thai gardens and markets: lime leaf, lemongrass, galangal. It serves as another example of how creativity-driven peasant food can create a truly outstanding dish.

Ready to get to know the northern kind of Thai food delivery? Start by perusing the menus available at Waiter.com, where online ordering and prompt delivery make it easy encounter a whole new world of flavor — without ever leaving your office!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — Waiter.com is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & deliveryWaiter.com offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

8 responses to “7 Northern Thai Dishes that Will Reinvent a Food Delivery Favorite”

  1. Ro says:

    Thai food has never really been my go to choice for lunch or dinner, but now seeing how it can be used as leftovers, I think I may give it a try. Particularly, I am interested in seeing how leftover beef and pork can be used to make new dishes like Tom Saep. That sounds delicious. Great article w/ valuable info.

  2. Jameson says:

    People in my office are constantly raving about Thai food and getting it delivered to their desks at lunch. For some reason, I’ve never considered giving it a go for catering. This would be such a great, hearty, option that comes in at a low cost and is relatively healthy!

    • Sara says:

      Thai food is a crowd-pleaser, too – there are plenty of dishes that are simple and straightforward enough to please even the pickier palates!

  3. Paul says:

    This brings back so many memories. I spent several weeks in Chaing Mai and Pai a few years back and really feasted on Khao soi and Sai ua, so glad to see them both listed here. I don’t think American’s can really begin to fathom how spicy authentic Thai can get. What a fantastic cuisine!

    • Sara says:

      So true Paul! Your travels sound amazing – there’s nothing like experiencing cuisine in its homeland!

  4. Deirdre says:

    I absolutely love Thai food. There are so many options available, and if you love a little kick to your food Thai provides plenty of flavor. It is healthy and a great idea for catering for work,weddings or events.

    • Sara says:

      Agreed! Thai food is a tasty alternative to more predictable catering fare – and can be quite healthy.

  5. Kirk Davis says:

    Northern Thai food is great but it is not my go to for work lunch. The intense spices and flavors can lead to less than fresh breath after lunch.