After reading such delectable recommendations from EatingAsia and on eGullet, I knew that I’d have to fit in a trip to Lamduan to eat their famous kao soi. I only managed to find that time on my last day in Chiang Mai, after a visit in the morning to the ruins of Wiang Kum Kam, the previous city to Chiang Mai.
We grabbed a table next to a fan and were presented with English menus. We each ordered a small bowl of kao soi, a total of 3 with pork and 1 vegetarian. The pork one was a revelation, much better than the version I had at buffet place. The focus was obviously on the curry rather than the coconut milk and it was deeply savoury and spicy but not at all hot with chili. On the side, your temperature can be risen with the addition of roasted red chili oil and little limes, raw shallots and pickled vegetables are the other traditional accompaniments. The noodles within the curry soup are egg noodles and the same are deep fried and used as a garnish on top. Both roasted pork and fried pork scratchings featured in the soup, the scratchings half crunchy and half soaked with the delicious soup.
To drink, I chose the longan juice, which turned out to be boiled dried longans with sugar added. These dried longans were sold all over Chiang Mai and I bought a mixed bag of them and lychees to take home. The chewy orbs are tasty eaten out of hand but when we get tired of them, I might boil up this drink.
The best part about having a small bowl of noodles is that there’s plenty of space in your stomach for other goodies. After a quick perusal of what’s on offer, I chose these shrimp fritters, tiny little red shrimp in a batter and served with a sweet chili sauce. Very addictive.
We also wanted to try their spicy Chiang Mai sausage. Long coils of it sat in the kitchen and orders were coming out fast. This one was full of herbs and chili and was the most spicy sausage I’d eaten on this trip (and I could make a joke here about eating a lot of sausage but this is a nice food blog, people). The sausage’s cross section shows us lumps of sticky rice scattered throughout the meat that gave a nice textural contrast.
For the four of us, we had ordered the sausage, the fritters, 4 drinks and 4 small bowls of kao soi and this came to about 200 baht altogether. That’s less than 4 pounds. Highly recommended! When in Chiang Mai, do make time to visit Lamduan. I only wish I’d have visited earlier so I could have had their kao soi more than once! They’re not open for dinner and it’s packed with locals for lunch but there’s plenty of seating and turnover is quick.
Chiang Mai, Thailand