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A little bit of the South in the North

By Shana Kongmun

I am an admitted hard core fan of Southern Thai food. The spicier the better and so it is often difficult for me to find the requisite spice here in Chiang Mai, a land of a gentler, less spicy eating people. Northern food has a different range of tastes and flavors, vegetables and herbs and far less spicy than in Southern Thailand.
I ran into a young man who was serving up some very tasty Southern style food at the Royal Project Fair in December and finally had a chance to try his food at Promenada recently. Don’t be put off from trying the food based on my love of spiciness; there are many dishes on offer and many of them not spicy at all.
This is a traditional style lunch place with pans of different dishes on display, giant pots of soup on the stove and a nice touch, a fresh veggie station for people to stock up on the sliced cucumber, green beans and other vegetables typical of Southern lunch places.
It is possible to order a larger bowl or plate of curry, gaeng som, klua king, soup or any other dish on offer or order it “rad khao” as I did which is poured over rice. They gave me a small individual size bowl with delicious, coconut- creamy, spicy pork curry and I also had a small dish of cooked squid with kapi (shrimp or fish paste), lime juice, cilantro, chilies and shallots. The squid was tender and not overcooked as is often the case, the curry spicy and creamy as it should be.
There is a nice little eating area behind the food where the veggie station is. I had the two dishes, rice and a bottle of water for the grand price of 60 baht. I don’t know if the restaurant is open at night but if you are at Promenada during the afternoon, they are there all afternoon. Great place to stop in for lunch and then pop over to Rimping for your grocery shopping or wander around Promenada and enjoy the shops, or see a movie for a peaceful afternoon.

RECIPES BY NOI: Nam Phrik Makua Som (Roasted tomato chillipaste)

Why Nam Phrik again? Because there are so many Nam Phrik recipes to write about! If I were to start writing a book about it, it might be the biggest book ever and might take half time of my life. Luckily, most of Nam Phrik Recipes are easy. The main ingredients are just a fews things; chilis (dried or fresh, garlic, shallots and salt. The additional ingredients are what give the Nam Phrik its name.
In this recipe, we use roasted tomatoes. So we call it Nam Phrik Makua Som. The ingredients are exactly the same but for the addition of the roasted tomato, the most important change.
First pound the chili, garlic and shallots together. Then add salt and roasted tomato. That‘s it!
We can make Nam Phrik with Pla Ra (fermented fish), grilled fish, boiled eggs, galangal, ginger, fermented soy beans, bamboo shoots, Cap Moo (deep friend crisp pork skins) even grilled frogs, crickets, hornet larvae, tadpoles etc. The list is nearly endless! Thanks and love to all my fans, I appreciate your feedback and if you have any recipes you would like to learn about please email the editor to let me know.

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