Updated: Nov 17, 2022
Since Khao Soi became the world's best soup in 2022, it has grown popularity among tourists, and many international YouTubers have made videos about it. For those who don't know what Khao Soi is, well, it is egg noodles swimming in coconut milk mixed with curry and braised-meat soup and topped with crispy egg noodles. Khao Soi originated from Muslim-Chinese immigrants that moved from Yunnan to the northern part of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. The original recipe doesn't include coconut milk, but the later version includes coconut milk, which became more popular and is now a worldly sensation. However, many restaurants use too much coconut milk in their soups, making them too creamy and oily, which leaves our tongues coated in coconut fat. The true Khao Soi has to balance the creaminess, oiliness, spiciness, saltiness, sweetness and umami flavour, especially when it comes to beef Khao Soi.
As Chiang Mai is the capital of the Thai Northern region and is famous for its Khao Soi restaurants, Chomp Magazine visited Chiang Mai to find decent authentic Khao Soi Restaurants in Chiang Mai: Beef Edition 2022.
Khao Soi Sork Gumpaeng Din This place is far from fancy. A small stall with a few tables tucked in a small gap in a ruined ancient city wall. The Cook/Owner pours some dark soy sauce and puts some herbs in the bowl before scooping the beef soup and chewing egg noodles in. She then tops it with crispy egg noodles. This way of serving is similar to other kinds of Thai noodles. This Khao Soi stall tends toward Thai and Lanna style than Islamic style. The aroma is quite unique due to the smell of fermented soybean from the black soy sauce the Cook/Owner puts. The beef soup is rich but too heavy. The beef is so tender that it almost melts. The egg noodles are thick and cooked aldente. Mix with its traditional condiments; lime, shallots and pickled cabbages, it'll be like a party in the mouth.
Hours Sunday - Friday, 8am - 4pm Contact Location: Kampangdin Rd, Tambon Chang Moi, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100
Tel: +6693 289 5766
Khao Soi Chang Khlan Mosque This place serves Khao Soi Islamic style. The shop is just a block next to the Chang Khlan Mosque. This place's Khao Soi soup doesn't have coconut oil floating up. Oh no, it's because they add coconut milk when the beef broth is at the boiling point and then low the heat to prevent the oil from breaking apart from the coconut milk, which makes the soup creamy, buttery, sweet, salty and umami without being too oily. The condiments are slightly different from the previous Khao Soi shop. The pickled cabbages are mixed with chilli oil. The soup smells of curry leaves, caraway, bay leave and cinnamon at first then the smell of the beef comes in. The beef doesn't need chewing. It just pulls itself apart as soon as it's inside your mouth. The noodles are slightly thinner and softer.
Monday - Sunday 8am - 3pm
Contact Location: 2/2 Alley 18, Chareon Prated Rd, Chang Khlan, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100 Tel: +66 93 289 5766
Khao Soi Suthasinee 3
Another Islamic Khao Soi restaurant worth your palate. Khao Soi Suthasinee 3 is a branch of Khao Soi Suthasinee. Like Khao Soi Restaurant next to Chang Khlan Mosque, the pickled cabbages are also spicy, but the difference is that the pickled cabbages were pickled with some chilli. It looks quite similar to Kimchi, in my opinion. The beef soup at Suthasinee 3 is umami and herbaceous. The juicy beef has some bite in it because they cook the beef to be a little chewy, but it's tenderised enough not to stick between the gap of your teeth. They heavily put some coconut milk, but it's not too oily or greasy. The noodles from Suthasinee 3 are the thickest compared to all the places on this trip, but they absorb the soup quite well while staying chewy.
Monday - Sunday 8:30am - 3pm
Khao Soi Lung Prakij
This already-famous Khao Soi place has served Khao Soi for over 40 years and was featured in Netflix's documentary "Somebody Feed Phil" and Youtuber Mark Wiens's channel. They separate the based-soup, coconut milk soup and braised beef into pots. The based-soup is thick, rich, hot and spicy. The braised beef is tenderised. Before serving, they add a small amount of creamy coconut soup to give the dish creaminess and coconutty flavour. Their noodles are slightly curly and thin. They cook the noodles to be slightly chewy. One of their condiments is slightly different compared to the other establishments. Instead of serving chilli oil, they serve stir-fried chilli flakes to give intense spiciness without being too oily.
Hours Monday - Sunday 9:30am - 4:30pm
Contact Location: 53 Suriyawong 5 Rd, Tambon Hai Ya, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100 Tel: +6683 209 9441
Kanom Jeen Pa Pom Although this place is renowned for Kanom Jeen, another Lanna staple, Khao Soi from this shop is a dish worth visiting. The recipes in this restaurant have remained the same for 20-something years, feeding generations of tourists and locals alike. The curry and coconut broth is tasty and thick. The aroma of beef and spices are strong but not too pungent. Kanom Jeen Pa Pom's pickled cabbages come in chunks instead of fine-cut like the others, which gives some extra crunch to the Khao Soi when you add it. In their condiment lineup, they don't serve chilli oil or oilly chilli flakes. There are enough spices and a burning sensation in the soup, but if you're really into the burning effect from the chilli, you can ask them for some extra chilli oil on the side. The beef is flavourful and tender almost melted once it's in your mouth.
Hours Monday - Saturday 7am - 2pm
Contact Location: 15 1 Phra Pok Klao Rd Soi 4, Tambon Phra Sing, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200 Tel: +6681 765 7435 FB: Kanom Jeen Pa Pom