On my first night in Chiang Mai Andy took me to Jin Tup, a rustic roadside restaurant a few kilometres outside of the city. Jin Tup turned out to be quite tasty and fun, and is very emblematic of the kind of food northerners (specifically, northern Thai men) like to eat with their booze. But it was obvious upon arriving that this isn't a restaurant for everybody; although cheery and welcoming, the place is shockingly messy and is also rather hard to locate.
The emphasis here is on grilled meat:
which ranges from pork collar to grilled teats, and just about everything in between. The house specialty, which also functions as the name of the restaurant, is jin tup (literally 'pounded meat' in the northern dialect), grainy pieces of beef (Andy suspects flank) that are seasoned, semi-dried and grilled before being pounded into thick strips with a metal mallet (illustrated at the top of this post). The smokey strips of meat are then served with two types of nam phrik khaa, a galangal-based dipping sauce. I first encountered a similar dish at Nang Khambang in Vientiane, Laos, but this version is meatier and fattier, and less leather-like.
We also had tom yam kop:
the northern version of the famous spicy/sour (and in this case, very salty) Thai soup, served here with frog and a generous amount dried northern spices.
But our favourite dish was naem, fermented pork combined with egg, wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled:
An amazing amalgam of two disparate proteins -- bland egg and tart pork -- that works amazingly well.
Jin Tup Ban San Sai Noy Moo 9, Hwy 1001, San Sai, Chiang Mai
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