Hunting Down Khao Soi in Chiang Mai
One dish that I had to get when I was up here in Chiang Mai was khao soi, a local curry noodle thing that I've been a pretty big fan of. Originally, I was going to go to some local stand that seemed pretty well known, but the hotel's concierge suggested that I come to Just Khao Soy instead (108/2 Charoenphratet Road, 053-818-641), as it was very close to the hotel and I needed to get back quickly for a meeting in the afternoon.
I was a bit disappointed. I'm not sure if it was because this place was unexpectedly touristy (the very long English menu went through pages explaining the history of the dish, etc...and they even took American Express!), or if it was simply because the renditions that I had in the past simply weren't authentic (it was usually outside of Chiang Mai...and many years ago at that). But the thick noodles and gravy at this shop just didn't get me that excited.
To be sure, I tried to go find a local cash-based stall afterwards as another reference point, coming across this guy at the Warorot Market. And interestingly, it generally tasted the same. Well, I started to like it more after I dumped in all of the chili, shallots, and lime juice to try to get some kick out of it. In that sense, I suppose that it is a bit like phở, as your preference of garnish can change the taste significantly. But I'm clearly going to have to practice a bit more to get it right.