Kaeng Hang Lay

Been busy editing photos for an upcoming revamp of my website and haven't had too much time to blog... Feel bad about this, so as recompense I'm pulling out an indiscriminate piece of food porn from the vault:

This is my friend, Kaeng Hang Lay. He is a northern Thai style curry that probably came to Thailand via Burma (hin means curry in Burmese). The curry uses a cut of pork that Thais call moo saam chan, "three-level pork", as it has meat, fat and skin. The pork is fried in really simple Burmese-style curry paste (chilies, ginger, shallots, garlic and thua nao khep, soybeans that have been dried and flattened into disks), which being Burmese, also includes dried spices (a "hang lay" mixture of dried spices is available in northern Thailand). The curry is commonly eaten as a communal dish at festivals in northern Thailand, especially among the Shan ethnic group. The flavour of the curry is savory and sour (from the addition of tamarind), and is actually quite similar to an extremely rich American barbeque sauce. I'll be eating kaeng hang leh really soon as I'm heading up to Mae Hong Son province in northern Thailand on Monday! So I won't be blogging next week, but I will, of course, come back with lots of pics and info on northern Thai food to share with everybody.