Khao soi

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Khao soi
Chicken khao soi with fermented vegetables, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
Alternative namesKhao soy
TypeNoodle soup
Region or stateNorthern Thailand, Northern Laos, and Myanmar
Associated cuisineMyanmar, Laos and Thailand
Created byChin Haw
Main ingredientsHand-cut rice or egg noodles, coconut milk, curry soup base
VariationsNorthern Thai khao soi, Lao khao soi
Similar dishesOhn no khao swè

Khao soi or khao soy (Thai: ข้าวซอย, pronounced [kʰâ(:)w sɔ̄ːj]; Lao: ເຂົ້າຊອຍ [kʰȁ(ː)w sɔ́ːj],Shan: ၶဝ်ႈသွႆး pronounced [kʰaw˧˧˨.sʰɔj˥], Burmese: အုန်းနို့ခေါက်ဆွဲ ,pronounced [ʔóʊɴ no̰ kʰaʊʔ sʰwɛ́]) is a Chin Haw dish[1][2] served in Laos and northern Thailand.[3] A comparable dish, ohn no khao swè, is widely served in Myanmar. The name means "cut rice" and is derived from the Tai-Kadai language family. In Myanmar, it is known as "khao swè", an adaptation of the original name. Traditionally, the dough for the rice noodles is spread out on a cloth stretched over boiling water. After steaming, the sheet noodles are rolled and cut with scissors.

The dish is believed to have evolved from Chinese Muslim traders who plied the spice route when what is now modern-day northern Thailand was controlled by the Burmese.[4]

Lao khao soi is traditionally made with hand-sliced rice noodles in clear broth and topped with minced pork.[5] In some markets in Luang Namtha and Muang Sing, vendors still hand-cut the noodles. These traditionally cut noodles can also be found in several places in northern Thailand.


There are several common versions of khao soi:

Lao-style khao soi, in Luang Prabang
  • Lao khao soi is completely different and has no relation to the more famous Muslim-influenced khao soi, a rich coconut curry and egg rice noodle soup, of northern Thailand and Burma.[5] Lao khao soi is a hand sliced rice noodle soup with clear chicken, beef or pork broth topped with a tomato meat sauce made of minced pork, tomatoes, garlic and fermented bean paste.[6] The dish is always served with a fresh herbs. Lao khao soi noodles are made with steamed rectangular sheets of rice flour batter, the streamed rice flour sheets are then rolled and sliced into wide rice noodle ribbons. The name khao soi is derived from the Lao language meaning 'sliced rice': khao is “rice” and soi means “sliced” and it is probably where the dish got its name. The northern Lao provinces of Luang Namtha and Luang Prabang is said to be the birthplace of the Lao khao soi.[7][8] Northern Laotians have a special way of preparing this dish, different versions of it can be found at Lao restaurants.[9]
  • Khao soi - Bangkok
    Khow Suey
    Northern Thai khao soi or Khao Soi Islam is closer to the present-day Burmese ohn no khao swè, being a soup-like dish made with a mix of deep-fried crispy egg noodles and boiled egg noodles, pickled mustard greens, shallots, lime, ground chillies fried in oil, and meat in a curry-like sauce containing coconut milk.[10] The curry is somewhat similar to that of yellow or massaman curry but of a thinner consistency. It is popular as a street dish eaten by Thai people in northern Thailand, though not frequently served in Thai restaurants abroad.
    The Northern Thai khao soi's predecessor was likely a noodle dish that made its way to the region from Myanmar, via the Chin Haw, a group of Thai Chinese Muslims from Yunnan, who traded along caravan routes through Shan State in Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand from the 18th to early 20th centuries.[11] Due to the Muslim influence, the noodle soup was originally halal, and therefore commonly served with chicken or beef, not pork.[12][11]
    Different variants of khao soi that are made without any coconut milk and with rice noodles instead of egg noodles are mainly eaten in the eastern half of northern Thailand.
  • Shan khao soi (Shan: ၶဝ်ႈသွႆးတႆး; Burmese: ရှမ်းခေါက်ဆွဲ) is featured in the cuisine of the Shan people who primarily live in Burma.[11] The dish consists of hand-sliced rice noodles topped with a tomato and meat sauce.[11] This version of khao soi, as well as the version in Chiang Rai Province, can contain pieces of curdled blood (see khow suey).[13]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Khao Soi Recipe, Northern Style Curried Noodle Soup with Chicken (khaao saawy gai ; สูตรทำข้าวซอยไก่)". Thaifoodmaster. 4 December 2010. Archived from the original on 6 August 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  2. ^ Groundwater, Ben (10 June 2022). "This Thai dish is one of the world's all-time greatest foods". Traveller. Retrieved 10 February 2023.
  3. ^ Agha, Shafia (3 February 2013). "Recipe: Burmese Khao Suey". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Khao Soi: Northern Thailand's Signature Dish". Thaizer. Archived from the original on 2 December 2022. Retrieved 16 August 2023.
  5. ^ a b Fan, Cindy (16 April 2019). "An obsession with khao soi, Lao rice noodles". So Many Miles. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  6. ^ "Laos Khao Soi - Tomato Meat Sauce Noodle Soup". Scruff & Steph. 28 January 2019. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  7. ^ Fan, Cindy (16 April 2019). "An obsession with khao soi, Lao rice noodles". So Many Miles. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  8. ^ "How to make Khao Soi meat sauce Tai Neua style". Food from Northern Laos. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  9. ^ "Kao Soi". Lao Food Recipes. The Boat Landing Guest House and Restaurant. 26 March 2010. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  10. ^ Walters, A.V. (2014). The Foodspotting Field Guide. Chronicle Books. p. pt39. ISBN 978-1-4521-3008-8. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d Eckhardt, Robyn (27 November 2009). "In Thailand, Chiang Mai's Fiery Noodles, Khao Soi". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 21 May 2023.
  12. ^ "Khao Soi". Lanna Food. Chiang Mai University. Archived from the original on 16 June 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  13. ^ "Khao Soy Tai or Shan Kao Soi by Sao Tern Moeng". 26 March 2006. Retrieved 19 September 2013.

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