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Food of The North

The food of the north is as distinctive as its culture. Instead of the soft rice in the central region, a steamed glutinous variety is preferred. This is traditionally kneaded into small balls with the fingers and used to soak up more liquid dishes. Northern curries are generally milder than those of the central and northeastern Thailand. The influence of neighboring Myanmar is evident in such popular dishes as "Gaeng Han Lay", a pork curry that relies on ginger, tamarind, and turmeric for its flavor, and "Khao Soi", a curry broth with egg noodles and meat, topped with spring onions, pickled onions, and slices of lime. A favorite regional specialty is a spicy pork sausage called "Naem". Eaten in a variety of ways, this is probably the one delicacy northerners miss the most when they move to another part of the country.

The traditional form of meal in the north, especially when guests are being entertained, is called a "khantoke" dinner - 'khan' (bowl) and 'toke' (a low round table). Diners sit on the floor around the table and help themselves to assorted dishes, which, besides glutinous rice, may include one or two local curries, a spicy minced meat dish, a salad, fried pork rind, and various sauces and condiments.

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