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What a fabulous investigation into the history of khao soi. I only tried Lamduan's khao soi when I was in Chiang Mai and they were utterly gorgeous (like you, I opted for pork!).


really like the noodles 'cut' from pressed rice! :)


Very interesting (and probably frustrating) investigation! I guess continuing on the trail is a good excuse to go back sometime and eat more of those delicious noodles.


incredible post -- really enjoyed the research details and the photos


In Burmese, khao soi is a generic name given to a noodle dish. In this case we would call it ohn-no (ohn=coconut, no=milk) khao soi. The Shan dish you are referring to in the article would be called Shan khao soi. Some noodle salads would be called khao soi thote. I have never been to Thailand but I lived the first 10 years of my life in Burma. The few times I saw this dish on this website, I thought it was a local version of the Burmese dish as the article mentioned. I'm not sure how much it was adapted but it looks nearly identical to the one I grew up eating and the recipe my family uses. It's mainly a chicken curry based sauce that is diluted with coconut milk to make the broth. We always eat it with egg noodles and I don't remember ever having it with rice noodles.


As me and meemalae and I discussed before in another thread (^link above^) on Chiang Mai dishes, the Shan noodles can be served a few ways with the tomato sauce, gram flour mixture or both. Sometimes it is just a stock instead of the gram flour mixture. Of course, I can't vouch for the authenticity of those are the few ways I've remembered it being served in Yangon and made by family and friends here in the US. It's great to see how the dish developed in Chiang Mai. No doubt, it's closeness to Burma is the reason why dishes like ohn-no khao soi, shan noodles, and mohinga (the most popular dish in Burma) are popular there.

To quote: The bottom line?
You should really publish a book form of this blog. I'd buy it in a heartbeat. As a food lover, this site really makes me nostalgic and makes me want to travel to all the places you mention on this blog.


Lovely post on Khao Soi. Maybe one of the readers here have an inkling on how Khao Soi got to become "Khao Soi"

Mrs. L

Very cool post. And mouthwatering photos!


Very detailed post. Still remember Khao Soi was one of the item on our list back when we journeyed to Chiang Mai. Though I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of whether we went for a bowl or not.
Still, the version with that crispy noodles looked the most enticing, and vaguely resembles what I had in mind.


Fab article as always, Robyn, I love reading about this dish.

One small point, the Burmese name for the dish is "ohn-no khao swè", NOT "ohn-no kyauk swe".

"Ohn-no" means "coconut milk" .

"Khao swè" just means "noodles" - actually literally "fold pull" - which is how you make them :)

"Shan khao swè" just means Shan-style noodles and, as you say, generally consists of rice noodles topped with a tomato and meat (usually pork) sauce.


Great blog! I love SE Asian food and the street food is the best :-) Do you mind if I put a link to your site on our blog?


I had the 'noodles' grated from the block of rice cake at a stall in Nanjing a few months ago. It was served cold, with some finely chopped preserved vegetables, chilli oil, sesame, and black vinegar. Would it be the same noodles in your picture?


Tracy - go ahead. We'd be honored.

Wandernut - Interesting. Sounds like noodles in Sichuan that are made from several types of 'jellies' (yellow pea, rice, etc) and dressed similarly, then served cold. I'd be interested to know where your vendor was from.

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