The food of Chiang rai, in some way, is cooked with the sole thought for the taste for the northern people. The recipe consists of vegetable and ingredients available in their immediate vicinity. The common meal includes steamed glutinous rice, chili sauces which come in a host of varieties, such as “namprik noom”, “namprik dang”, “namprik ong” and chili soups (gang) such as gang hangle, gang hoh, gang kae. In addition there are also, local sausages such as sai ua, and nham; steamed meat, roasted pork, pork resin, fried pork, fried chicken and vegetable to go with them.
The people of the Northern Province of Chiang rai have penchant for medium cooked food with a touch of salty tastes almost to the exclusion of sweet and sour tastes. Meat preferred by the northern people is pork followed by beef, chicken, duck, bird etc. Sea food is the least known on account of the remoteness of the northern region from the sea.
Thai food of the north does not lack in varieties. These are dishes to be consumed at different times of the day. The Northern Chiangrai breakfast known in the local dialect as khao gnai consisting mainly of steamed glutinous rice. Cooked in the early hours of the day, steamed glutinous rice is packed in a wicker basket made from bamboo splints or palmyra palm leaves. The farmer takes the packed basket to the working rice field and eat the glutinous rice as lunch, known in the dialect as “khao ton”. Dinner or “khoa lang” is an familiar affair is served on raised wooden tray or “kan toke”. The tray which is about 15 to 30 inches in diameter is painted in red.
Traditional Method of Serving Northern Food : The people of the Northern Province of Chiang rai are known to follow their traditions in a very strict and faithful manner, in particular the tradition of serving and partaking of the evening meal. Food is placed in small cups placed on “kantoke” which could be an inlaid wooden or brass tray depending on the economic status of the house owner. Served together with “kantoke” is steamed glutinous rice that is the staple food of the northerner packed in a wicker basket.