Khao Soi – Thailand’s Perfect Noodle Dish

If you’ve visited Northern Thailand, you probably know about khao soi (also spelled khao soy). If you haven’t, it’s the best combination of stock, coconut milk, braised meat, aromatics, egg noodles, and toppings. This curry noodle bowl needs to be on any foodie’s bucket list, so if you’re planning on going to Thailand, make sure you head towards Chiang Mai to check out their variety of khao soi shops. We recommend paying a visit to a Michelin star shop, Kao Soi Mae Sai. If you’re not planning a trip to former Siam, you should consider it. Check out our guides and inspiration for more places to see.

Why Try Khao Soi in Thailand?

Khao soi is a favorite of travelers around the world. It’s even enjoyed as a breakfast, which only adds to the experience. The oily orange broth is complex, rich, and sweet. Fresh egg noodles bring a comforting texture to the bowl. The fish sauce, coconut milk, and sugar elevate the dish’s flavors. But the star of the show is the toppings. Some combination of chili oil, fried noodles, fried shallots, cilantro, bean sprouts, onions, shallots, pickled mustard greens, and a squeeze of lime brings the dish to a whole new level. Let’s dive into each core component.

Chicken Khao Soi in Chiang Mai, Thailand


People underestimate good noodles. There’s a huge difference between fresh and dry, and there are serious distinctions between the ingredients used in noodles. Sure, the average home cook may not care whether wheat, rice, or egg noodles are used in a dish, but we’re talking about the perfect noodle dish here. Optimal khao soi preparation demands fresh egg noodles. When you visit Chiang Mai, that’s what you’ll see them using.


Unsurprisingly, the broth is the most complex portion of the dish. It starts with an array of fresh aromatics like Thai lime leaf, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, shallot, ginger, curry spices, and Thai chili. All that is fried in coconut fat, and combined with coconut milk. Chicken, beef, pork, or other proteins are braised slowly in this broth until tender. It’s seasoned with fish sauce and sugar and kept warm in a huge pot. The result is a deeply rich soup base with a captivating orange-red color that you’ll be dreaming about for years.


In Chiang Mai, khao soi is served to order. Vendors start by putting the cooked noodles in a bowl with some of the braised meat. They ladle the broth over it before adding shallots, crispy noodles, bean sprouts, and cilantro. When you sit down at the table, you’re typically faced with an assortment of condiments. A few essentials are chili oil and lime juice. If you enjoy bolder flavors, add more fish sauce or some pickled mustard greens. Whatever your preference may be, all of it is delicious.

If you want to taste the real deal, book a flight to Thailand. But if you’re curious about the dish and want to try a more accessible version, you may be able to find it at a local Thai restaurant or Bon Appétit has a good recipe online. Have you tried this incredible dish? Let us know your opinion of it down below.

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