A while back, I blogged about the various places in Mae Hong Son city to get the local dishes of khao sen, thin rice noodles served with a pork and tomato broth, and khang phong, crispy deep-fried fritters. I thought I'd covered everywhere in town until this most recent visit, when I was pointed the direction of Paa Khon.
Every morning, in what is little more than a dark shack under a large tree:
Paa Khon serves the noodle dish known elsewhere in Thailand as khanom jeen nam ngiaw. Like other local versions in Mae Hong Son, the broth is largely meat-free, has a tart flavour due to the addition of tomatoes, and is garnished with cilantro and deep-fried crispy garlic. Unlike elsewhere, Paa Khon supplements her broth with chopped bits of yuak kluay, the pithy stalk of the banana tree, resulting in a soup that's thicker and heartier than most, with a bit of crunch.
Another highlight is her delicious khang pong. She does the green papaya version:
a staple here in Mae Hong Son, but seemingly continuing on the banana theme, she also does an unusual version using hua plee, banana blossom:
She explained that she uses the firmer blossoms of wild bananas, which are sliced thinly and deep-fried raw. Both versions come out of the wok golden, crispy and lightly seasoned -- salty, spicy and herbal -- and are served with a sour/sweet, cucumber-studded dipping sauce.
Come lunch, Paa Khon also does a short menu of northeastern Thai dishes including grilled chicken and papaya salad.
Khao Sen Nam Yuak Paa Khon Th Makha Santi, Mae Hong Son 7am-3pm
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