It's been far too long and I apologize. I've been working furiously on the next edition of Lonely Planet's Thailand, and simply haven't had the time to blog. I am in Chiang Rai at the moment, doing research for Thailand, and will do my best to share the food discoveries I've been making up here.
Guided by an old issue of the Thai-language food magazine Khrua, my first great food find here in Chiang Rai is a local noodle restaurant called Paa Suk.
The signature dish here is naam ngiaw, a thin broth (usually pork, but here they also do a beef version) flavoured with a local chili paste and tomatoes, typically served over fresh khanom jeen noodles ('northern spaghetti', if you will) . The pork version (pictured at the top of this post) was deliciously meaty, although I personally prefer the type served in Mae Hong Son that emphasizes sour tomatoes over meat. The dark cubes you see are coagulated blood, and the dish is served with sides of bean sprouts, pickled mustard cabbage and slices of lime.
They also do a very northern dish called khao kan jin:
This is rice that has been mixed with (again) blood, wrapped in a banana leaf, then steamed. The result is drizzled with garlic oil and served with fresh coriander, cucumber and green onion. Very nice, and you wouldn't know there was blood involved unless I told you.
The restaurant is currently being run by the third generation of the same family, and now they even have a branch on Soi 3, Th Silom, in Bangkok, which I'll be sure to investigate as soon as I get back.
Paa Suk Th Sankhongnoi, Chiang Rai 053 752 471 7am-3pm