Thailand – traditional northern food in Nan

Nan is an ancient town with a lot of history but what struck me most was how beautifully green and lush it was. I’d love to come back one day and get to know it better.

Again my experience was very brief, there’s only three places on my map, but I did get to go to this excellent restaurant…

Huan Puka เฮือนภูคา (Intermediate A), Nai Wiang, Mueang Nan District, Nan 55000,

Huan Puka is located in a beautiful old traditional house.

The surroundings are very atmospheric.

On one wall is a copy of a famous local painting called Pu Marn Ya Marn, the Whisper of Love, showing a tattooed man whispering words of love into a woman’s ear. The original can be seen in Wat Phumin.

This is an old wooden cowbell which is now used to summon the waiters.

The restaurant specialises in Northern dishes. Apologies but I didn’t get the local names.

Most lovers of Thai food will be familiar with Nam Prick, the chilli-based sauce. However in the North they have Nam Prick Ong which is made from ground pork pounded in a mortar with tomatoes, dried chili, salt, garlic, lemongrass, water and shrimp paste. This is typically served with an assortment of fresh seasonal vegetables and here with sliced sausage and pork scratchings as well.

The Herbal Curry looked like a bowl of garden trimmings, which is what it actually turned out to be. Pom the young owner told us that many of the herbs and other ingredients grow in the yard around the restaurant.

Not exactly sure what this prawn dish was sorry but it was great!

On the menu this dish is described as Stir-fried Gymnema Sylvestre with Egg.

I’d never heard of it before but Gymnema Sylvestre is a woody vine which is used in Ayurvedic medicine.

Purple sticky rice is one of a few different colour varieties you can find in the north.

Although many of these ingredients were unknown to me it was all delicious and you could sense it was very healthy.

We finished the meal with a few of shots of Thai brandy which was less healthy but ended things nicely.

By this time Pom had joined us at the table and we spent a long time chatting. He used to work at a reggae bar in some holiday resort but now has invested in a quieter life in his home town. He still considers himself a Thai rasta although he had recently cut off his locks. He’s a lovely guy that’s definitely deserves supporting.

Sadly Nan was the last stop on this work trip and Grid and I had to say our goodbyes. Many thanks for looking after me so well Grid! It certainly was a great culinary experience.

My adventure hadn’t finished though and I carried on further north to Chiang Rai…

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