I'm on the move again with a touch down in Melbourne for a wedding with Abby, so of course we went in search of Khao soi and didn't have to go far (3 blocks from our hotel in the Central Business District) to find this fast foodish sit down Thai noodle bar.
They had quite passable Tod Mun Plaa (my all-time favorite street food in Thailand– fish cakes with kaffir lime leaves) but a bit overly processed and low on the all important kaffir lime leaves. Their Khao soi had plenty of vegetables– eggplant, mushrooms, cabbage, broccoli, baby corn, sprouts, mint, basil, and curry leaf, the latter a quite unique addition– and fried and thin egg noodles but no pickled mustard, lime, or fresh shallots to top it off and adjust taste. Broth was thick on coconut milk, not sour enough (with no supplementary lime to adjust it!), and still a bit watery despite an overpowering indian curry powder taste. Curry leaves, a pungent resinous leaf from India closely related to citrus that actually has little relation to the word "Curry" for a spice mixture even though they often appear in curries, were also a strange addition which I've never seen, but nice to find fresh in downtown Melbourne. The extra veggies were nice for me as a vegaquarian, but they should not come at the expense of the toppings that define this dish! Jack fruit smoothie was also tasty and a nice find, though definitely from canned jack fruit, not the delicate fresh fruit that inspired the tasty of juicy fruit gum.
Admittedly, we may be being extra critical about Yourthai since we had just come from the Mecca of Khao Soi, Chiang Mai, a few days before, so if your stuck in central Melbourne with a hunger for Khao soi, this might be worth a short visit, but not solely for the Khao soi, and if anyone know of any other good khao soi spots in Melbourne, please let me know for our next visit down under! All the other food in Melbourne was excellent, so there's got to be something else out there. Look for my reviews of the chocolate shops in Melbourne on my other blog, Chocolate from the Source, soon!
Yourthai Rice & Noodle Bar255 Swanston StMelbourne VIC 3000Australia
+61 3 9663 8010
Wasn't sure where to leave this, but both locations of Chai (http://www.yelp.com/biz/chai-new-york) have Khao Soi, but they call it Chiang Mai Curry
I had no idea there was a community of fellow khao-soi fanatics. You might want to check out the recipe on my blog (pbsr.wordpress.com); look under the post called "A Willing and Eager Kitchen Slave." The recipe you link to needs to be more specific in its curry powder. I'd suggest massaman as the closest to the standard Chiang Mai version, although I think Samoe Jai's (which is much more "red" and pork-based) is the best in town. Cheers!
Just wanted to say you are my hero for writing a whole blog devoted to khao soi. I've only found one respectable version of this dish in Seattle but I'm crazy about it.
After a recent trip to Portland where I had Khao Soi at a restaurant called Pok Pok, I tried making it myself at home. I suppose it could have been worse on the first try, but it really didn't capture the essence. While poking around the internet for more recipes I came across your blog which led me to Juliet's blog and hopefully my second try will be better. I wish I had seen this earlier because I would have tried the food cart you mentioned. I am back in Boston now and miss the food carts terribly!
Always love a good read about thai food!
I have found a little treasure, although not so secret in chiang mai which is called Aroon Rai, 45 Th Kotchasan in the city close to the main east gate. Also, here is a great little blog on chiang mai restaurants as well:
Glad to see there is a community of people dedicated to the pursuit of outstanding khao soi. Generally hard to find in the States. Best I have ever had is at jatujak market in Bangkok, although I could not easily describe where it is within that complex. There was an elderly lady in the Seri Center on Srinakarin Road in Bangkok which also made very good khao soi. Best I found when I lived in NYC was at Talent on 34th St., but I only lived in NYC for a year and did not have the opportunity to explore some of the places off the island which had been recommended by Thai friends.
I am simply delighted by your blog, although I noticed it hasn't been updated in awhile. I suppose NY only has so many restaurants with Kao Soi!!
I HAVE A QUESTION:
So I was blessed to live in Chiang Mai for 5 months. Kao Soi was my choice of meal nearly 8 out of 10 times, if given one food I could eat the rest of my life, well, this is it.
While there, a Thai friend knew of my affinity to Kao Soi :) and took it upon herself to take me to a little restaraunt in Lampang (an hour south of Chiang Mai). Apparanty everyone in Lampang makes Kao soi differently? But it was the best Kao Soi I've ever eaten. I've scoured the internet for a recipe but have had no luck. Was wondering if you have had green Kao Soi and what your thoughts are? It cannot be as simple as just switching out the curries, there was something else significantly different. Actually, the closest thing I have found was the recipe you posted in a link to the right, the photo was green, but the curry in the ingredient list was red :(
Have you had green Kao Soi or am I just barking up the wrong tree?
I have never myself seen green Khao soi nor had it in Lampang, but I have a couple guesses what else might be in there to make it green aside from green curry paste. Which link are you talking about that has the photo of the green khao soi? The Chez Pim one? I couldn't find the pic you were describing.
There is a deep green leaf used in Northern Thailand, especially Isan (NE Thailand) called Bai Yanang that is basically pure umami or natural MSG. It is used as a cold water infusion only and then the leaf is discarded and the deep green water in which the leaf has been crushed is reduced down to make a potent flavoring for dishes like Sup Naw Mai, Gaeng Naw Mai, and a few other Thai & Lao dishes. I haven't heard of this being used that much in NW Thailand, but perhaps this is what is making the green khao soi and so delicious. Let me know if that sounds like the right direction. You can find this leaf in some large US cities with good Thai grocery stores like Chicago, NYC, Honolulu, LA, and SF. It is also sold in cans but is much better fresh.
This isn't about this post, but I too lived in Chiangmai. You forgot on your list the Central Plaza shop in the food court downstairs. They had the best Khao soi i've had to date. I didn't even know there were other places in the city else I would've found them. I do remember my favorite other food carts though :)
I LOVE KHAO SOI! Having lived in Brisbane for the last few years I had no luck finding a passable version of my absolute favourite; just moved to Melbourne so excited to try my luck there.
My man, it's time for a ranking of Khao Soi places in New York. I will be in the city the weekend after next and need a bowl. Can you give us a top 5 post?
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