Thai street food : Nam prik num (roasted green chilli dip)


Chiang mai is a great city, full of life and good food at every turn.  There is real food heritage, and dishes you wouldn’t find in western style Thai restaurants. Northern food contains influence from many of the surrounding countries – Loatian, Burmese and Chinese food.

Nam phrik (or phrik) num isn’t a meal as such, but a component of one. Traditionally, in a Thai household a family meal is a selection of lots of different flavours and textures for everybody to eat.
Nam prik num is a flavour of the northern provinces of Thailand and easy to find in Chiang Mai.

A mixture of roasted green chillies, garlic, onion and green aubergines – different from the small round purple ones found in curries – are pounded in a khrok and saak (traditional Thai mortar and pestle) to create a smoky, spicy paste, a salsa-like mix.

Nam Prik Noom eggplant dip - Songkran Festival Gala Dinner at Raming Lodge Hotel
Photo sourced from Flickr via a Creative Commons License. Thanks to Alpha, no modifications made. 

It’s eaten as part of a main meal or can be ordered with sticky rice (khao niao) and raw vegetable sticks for dipping.

In Chiang Mai Khao Soi Jamer Jai is a popular restaurant/food court which sells a number of popular northern dishes and general Thai food. It’s a good place to try the name sake khao soi as well as gaeng hang lay.

Some useful words

Neung – one
Sawng – two
mai phet – not spicy
phet nit nawy’  – a little bit spicy.
Phet mak – very spicy
Aroy – delicious
Mai sai prik khap/khaa – no chilli (M/F)
Sai tung – take away (put in a bag)
Pai sed – special, as in the large size in at a foodcourt.
Tow rai? – how much.


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