• Thailand Travels: A Quick Guide to Northern Thai Street Food

    [Photographs: Jamie Feldmar]

    You don’t see much Northern Thai food on takeout menus in America. Maybe it’s because the flavors of the mountainous, heavily forested region—bitter, spicy, delightfully funky—are harder to translate than the fried noodles and coconut milk curries popular further south.

    Maybe it’s because Northern Thais have a particular fondness for pig offal and blood, sometimes for breakfast. Maybe it’s because the staple of the Northern Thai diet, sticky rice, requires a labor-intensive process of steaming, turning and kneading before it’s ready.

    Portioning out a bushel of sticky rice at Thanin Market in Chiang Mai.

    Whatever the reason, it’s a pity that more people aren’t familiar with Northern Thai food, because it’s some of the most intriguing and satisfying in all of Thailand. Should you have the pleasure of finding yourself in Chiang Mai or its surrounding environs, keep an eye out for these dishes, all available from local markets and street vendors, that capture the taste and spirit of the region.

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  • Snapshots from Vietnam: A Guide To Hanoi’s Best Street Food

    [Photographs: Jamie Feldmar]

    Hanoi is a street food paradise. The mazelike alleys of the tourist-heavy Old Quarter and the more traditional Truc Bach lake area are crammed with stalls and makeshift storefronts, all bearing toy-sized plastic stools and advertising what they sell with bold signs out front. Many vendors sell only one or two dishes, and since Vietnamese uses a Roman script, it’s easy to tell what they are, provided you know the some basic street food vocabulary.

    Pleasantly overwhelmed and short on Vietnamese language skills, I turned to Aussie expat Mark Lowerson, aka Sticky in Hanoi, who, along with his partner Tu (aka Vietnamese God), runs street food tours of the city. The tours are very small, very personal, and ideal for intrepid eaters looking to branch out beyond pho and banh mi (no offense, pho and banh mi). I was particularly interested in seeking out regional Hanoi specialties, so Mark cherry-picked a few stops for dishes I didn’t find elsewhere in the country.

    Armed with a clearer culinary understanding and some shiny new food phrases post-tour, I continued eating my way across the streets of Hanoi with a newfound appreciation for what I was actually chewing. Here’s a look at some of the fare that makes Hanoi’s diverse street food scene so delicious.

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