Udon Thani’s Best Restaurants – The Khaosoi Tai

It’s a well known saying that if you are visiting a town or city for the first time and you want to find a restaurant which serves good-tasting food at reasonable prices then look out for a place that’s a little off the beaten track and full of local people. The Khaosoi Tai Restaurant in Udon Thani fits perfectly into that classification and in my honest opinion is one of Udon Thani’s best restaurants. And the photograph above proves its popularity with Udon’s urbanites.

The Khaosoi Tai Restaurant specialises in traditional food dishes from Northern Thailand and its name comes from one which is often called the signature dish of Thailand’s northern cultural city of Chiang Mai, Khao Soi.

Khao Soi (or Khao Soy) is a beef, chicken or pork egg noodle curry topped with crispy golden fried noodles and garnished with shallots, lime juice and pickled cabbage. A delicious bowl of egg noodle curry at the Khaosoi Tai Restaurant is great value at only 45 baht (US$1.50) . However your table skills best include a mastery of chopsticks and a small spoon. Mine doesn’t, but others have honed their skills with years of practice.

The Khaosoi Tai Restaurant only opens during the day (10 am to 4 pm) and around noon it becomes a favourite place to eat for local workers on lunch breaks, parties of people with something or other to celebrate, and friends and couples who just want to savour distinctive northern cuisine in charming surroundings.

The restaurant’s bamboo tables and chairs are sprinkled among an array of potted plants, flowers and theatrical vivid green trees giving you the appearance and feel of a restaurant thrown together in the midst of a steaming dense jungle. The restaurant has oodles of noodles and charm.

A little off the beaten track ….. not exactly ….. but the Khaosoi Tai Restaurant’s whereabouts is one which is tucked out of sight from your average tourist’s radar. The restaurant is on Srisuk Road, opposite the Heritage Apartments, and only a short walk from Udon Thani Provincial Museum and Nong Prajak Park, but its locale seems to be missed by most of the city’s tourist brochures and beating drums. That’s a shame because its menu of northern Thai dishes is quite extensive and easy on the eye and budget. A meal for two with a couple of side dishes and soft drinks will struggle to breach the 200 baht barrier.

Khao Soi hobnobs on the menu alongside Steamed Sago with Pork, Fish Noodle Curry, Mushroom Noodle Soup, Spring Rolls, Northern Thai sausage and a plateful of other delectable dishes. Yet somehow the majority of tourists visiting Udon Thani appear to miss this honey trap of Northern cuisine which is all the rage with locals.

Below are a few photographs of some of the dishes available at the Khaosoi Tai Restaurant and some pictures of its beautiful setting.

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I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

7 Responses

  1. I haven’t really eaten that much Northern food to know what any of those dishes are, but a few of them look good. If those last few pictures are the front of the restaurant, maybe tourists can’t find the place because they think it’s a nursery?

    I use to frequent a similar kind of restaurant in Southern Phuket for a number of months. Then one day the husband and wife cook decided to leave for some reason. The new cooks that replaced them could not live up to the reputation that the other two had created and within a week, the place was almost completely dead.

  2. Martyn says:

    Lawrence M – The Khaosoi Tai Restaurant does have a billboard outside but its location is about 100 metres from where Udon’s tourist radar ends. The restaurant is about 2-3 kilometres from the city centre but 100 metres before it is the last recognised tourist road (of sorts), after that you’re heading out to the highway which leads to pumpkin bumpkin land. Unfortunately for the restaurant Udon Thani Provincial Museum and Nong Prajak Park are located by turning off about 200 metres before the restaurant.

    I think it’s a family run business and so there’s little chance of the cook(s) running off to ventures new.

  3. Mike says:

    Hi Martyn, great photos, the food looks good. I really enjoyed Khao Soi when I was in CM earlier this year.

  4. Martyn says:

    Mike – Some of the photos are a couple of years old, and one of them is from my famous Vivitar camera. I’m sure you can remember some of the stunning shots that pile of crap produced.

    Khao Soi or green curry noodles as I call it is probably my favourite Thai food.

  5. Grace Joubarne says:

    The pictures of the food at the restaurant Khaosoi Tai Restaurant in Udon Thani looks really good. Too bad you don’t have a few recipes. . . I love your reference to pumpkin bumpkin land. I’ll try to remember to use that term – lol, lol

  6. Martyn says:

    Grace – Thank you for your comment. I’m sure a simple Google search will show up recipes for any Thai dish you can think of. Pumpkin bumpkin…..I’ve got plenty more like that under my old straw hat.

  7. Snap says:

    I can’t believe I missed this post. Khao Soi…yum. I’ve even mastered it here, in Oz. Khon Thais would be mortified that I added some (suitable) vegies to it while cooking. Never the less, it was delicious 🙂 and would suit your chilliphobia pallette, Martyn. I even prepackaged the essential ingredients and sent them home with daughter number 1 to try.

    Grace, whatever recipe you come across, or whatever restaurant you eat Khao Soi at, I reckon they pre-cook the (traditional) chicken drumsticks until ultra tender, before adding to the soup.

    I cheat…send me an email if you want the recipe.

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