Despite being a northern dish, and despite there being at least six places in Mae Hong Son that serve it, there’s little khao soi here worth recommending. Even one longstanding restaurant that specializes in the dish turns out bland, soulless bowls.
Pho Phiang Phochana, a homebound restaurant near Mae Hong Son’s airport, serves just about everything, including bowls of self-proclaimed ‘Chiang Mai khao soi.’ It was the sign advertising this fact that caught my attention, and that also got me to thinking about the dish. I used to think of khao soi as a northern dish – I’ve probably eaten it in nearly every province in northern Thailand. But if I’m being honest, it’s never really very good outside of Chiang Mai. And if I’m being extremely honest, even in Chiang Mai there are only maybe two places where I care to eat it.
But back to Pho Phiang Phochana. Of the bowls I’ve had in Mae Hong Son, I reckon they do the best one. The broth was just rich and spicy enough, and the sides were of good quality. My only real complaint would be that they overdid it on the crispy noodle topping, making it somewhat hard to get to the main event.
If you’re going to eat khao outside of Chiang Mai, you may as well do it here.
Pho Phiang Phochana
Th Niwet Phisan, Mae Hong Son
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