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you labeled the first photo as som tam - i am pretty sure that is soop naw mai. it's definitely pickled bamboo in that bowl. please excuse me if i am incorrect.

you noted that the soop naw mai can be a little overpowering at times - personally i love that aspect of it, but here's a tip - if you can, try it with ground, roasted /toasted rice. it helps round out the flavours and may alleviate some of that funky odor you mentioned.

by the way, thanks for blogging. i really enjoy your posts and photographs. your posts in thailand make my missing home a little easier.

David Hutchinson

I have been following your posts almost from the beginning complements of a friend. I thought it was time to legitimise myself.


Hi Robyn,

I visited Somtam Guy today, and I was not disappointed!! I had the somtam tai...love at first bite :)


I think the the top pic is sup normai not som tum... :)


Don't do this to me guys. I want to go back to Chiang Mai again. Your post brought back memories of the joy of discovering the beauty of pairing crunchy salads with curies and rice. Great post as always


thaneda and cee -- you're absolutely right. That's what happens when you send a post to the photographer for captioning. :-)

Thaneda -- I mention toasted rice in sup nawmai in the text. (I LOVE any Thai salad with toasted rice in it!) I also personally don't mind a heavy taste of fermentation, but I think his strikes a really nice balance between funky and fresh. And, you're welcome. Thanks for reading!

David - consider yourself legitimate. Thanks for returning.

Nancie - fantastic! I miss him already. :-)

Kalyan - sorry! Not to mention crunchy salads with grilled meats. Let us know next time you're in Chiang Mai, perhaps we can meet up. Or maybe in India?


In India definitely. Chiang mai, hopefully


It's refreshing to see the greener side of Chiang Mai. I'll definitely keep an eye out for the "Somtam Guy," when we are in the region later this year.


Love, love mortar and pestle action.....how about a photo of the tools? Thai motor and pestles are such incredibly beautiful works of art...simple craft from folk art traditions, especially those made of red clay and fired in a wood firing kiln...lots of ash deposit and flame flashed exteriors.

Teri Y.

Looks good!

When I saw the picture of the setup of the stall, I thought it was a rojak stall. The brown clay bowl looks really similar to the ones that rojak stalls in Malaysia use.

andy oliver

sounds an absolute treat.

am leaving nahm london for 2 months in thailand and vietnam...

i'll be working in some resto's in BKK, but also eating my way around. will defo be following up some of your rec's when up north.

i'll be out there march and april. so drop me a line if you're about and fancy going out for some eats! oliverandyj@googlemail.com

andy http://thecooksbroth.blogspot.com

Juliette Le

Tsss... one of these days i'm gonna land in your dimension and have lunch with my chopsticks and you.


The most amazing is the small paper hanging at the wall behind this guy.
A lovely and polite northern dialect.
" Please do not urinate here Nur Jao"


Having flicked a morsel of chilli in my eye at lunch yesterday I can understand why this chap takes precautions!

A question; why do you and David avoid pickled crab? A Thai friend says that they are often riddled with parasites and so I have avoided trying dishes with them in. Am I missing out on anything here?

Eating Asia seems to be going from strength to strength. Great work and thank you for all the mouth-watering and thought-provoking posts.


Randy - a little green to balance all the pork you'll encounter. Do visit him!

Hi Linda - Could hardly pull Dave away from the table. We'll have to post our mortar and pestle collection some time. I agree - Thai mortars are exceptionally lovely.

Teri - good observation. Yes, they do.

Will do Andy! Don't know if we'll find ourselves in Bangkok but you never know. Good luck. (

Has anyone reading this tried the Viet pork in coconut water on Andy's blog? TO DIE FOR. We've made it several times.)

Juliette - you'd be very welcome!

Ha. Thanks for the translation WP!

Sunfug - for us it's about flavor. I love fishiness but I find the salt-flavor ratio of pickled crab to be too high. For me it just overpowers the entire dish. And I hate crunching on bits of crab shells as I work my way through a plate of somtam. I think bplaa raa delivers as much bang for the buck in terms of fishiness, with more flavor. That said -- I do have Thai friends who will not eat pickled crab for the reason you mention. If I'm using bplaa raa in the kitchen at home I heat it first, never raw (because of the parasites thing). But crab go in raw so ....
Also -- thank you very much for the kind words about EatingAsia!


R- utterly adore pickled crab- you have taken my back in time w this post- i had a wonderful holiday in Chiang Mai with my parents and had so much pickled crab whilst there. the photo is so beautiful. i also remember the luscious khao soi i had for lunch there w my family, near a tiny mosque, such wonderful memories.

love this post. xxx shayma

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