North Thailand Road Trip (Part 2): A Taste of Chiang Rai’s Kôw Soy

Our generous friends, Yam and J, brought us to Chiang Rai the day after our visit to Lampang not to check out another temple but to try the noodle soup that placed North Thailand in the map of gastronomic adventurers. That noodle soup is no other than the famous Kôw Soy.

I actually have no idea what kind of a place Chiang Rai is. The truth is that I only realized that I’m in Chiang Rai after seeing an eye-catching signpost.

North Thailand - Artsy Signpost in Chiang Rai

And there’s more of the artsy signposts as we walked on.

North Thailand - Direction to Chiang Rai

A few steps more and I discovered that the artsy signposts were just warm-ups to the main work of art: the Golden Clock Tower of Chiang Rai:

North Thailand - Chiang Rai's Golden Clock Tower

Chiang Rai’s Golden Clock Tower serves not only as a tourist spot but also as a roundabout. Yam told us that the clock tower was made by the artist who built the Wat Rong Khun, which we will visit later. The clock tower’s design departed from the traditional Thai design.

North Thailand - Golden Clock Tower of Chiang Rai

The spikes made the clock tower like a big golden fire in the middle of the highway. Chiang Rai Golden Clock Tower is more impressive at night because of the musical show light show. So, if you’re in Chiang Rai during the night then you’ll be in for a great treat.

North Thailand - Chiang Rai's Golden Clock Tower during the night
(Source: Minube)

The Golden Clock Tower is impressive but we walked on after a few photos because our true destination is this restaurant:

North Thailand - Kow Restaurant in Chiang Rai

I didn’t know how to read Thai letters so I can’t give the name of the shop. What I do know is that the shop is just near the Gold Clock Tower. In fact, the clock tower can still be seen from the shop.

North Thailand - Golden Clock Tower in Chiang Rai

Yam and J ask us to choose between the Kôw Soy with shrimp or the Kôw Soy with fish.

I can’t remember what I chose between the two. Is it the one with fish? Or is it the one with shrimp?

The restaurant started to get busy because its lunch time when we reached the place. 

North Thailand - Kow Soy restaurant in Chiang Rai

On the walls of the restaurant are some etchings and photos. I saw one drawing that’s very familiar.

North Thailand - Drawing of Lampang Temple
Lampang Temple

Another photo shows the shop owner and his sons during the groovy years. :-P

North Thailand - Old photo in Kow Soy restaurant in Chiang Rai

Our Kôw Soy finally reached our table. This is what I got:

North Thailand - Kow Soy of Chinag Rai

And this is my drinks:

North Thailand - Our cold drink in Chiang Rai

According to Hungry Traveller, Kôw Soy is a “curry-soup based dish made with both boiled and deep-fried egg noodles. It contains either chicken or beef, pickled cabbage, lime and shallots. The spicy sauce is slightly sweetened with coconut milk”. This dish originated Burma, which ruled Northern Thailand for hundreds of years.

North Thailand - Pickled cabbage, lime, and shallots for the kow soy
Pickled cabbage, lime, and shallots for the Kôw Soy

Hungry Traveller and Lonely Planet recommend Kôw Soy from another Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai. I don’t know how delicious their recommended Kôw Soy are but what I do know is that what I’ve eaten in Chiang Rai tasted good.

Kôw Soy is the unique dish in North Thailand that tourists should never miss. I am thankful to generous couple for letting us taste the delicious dish from their home province.


Read more of our adventures around North Thailand in the following posts:

Leave a comment with Facebook or regular comment box below.


  1. It's a very interesting place that's also rich in culture. Enjoy!

    1. I agree. Northern Thailand has distinct culture compared to Bangkok and other places.

  2. Not of a Kao Soy fan here but a very interesting dish to taste if ever one is in the Northern part. I have been to Chiangrai but I missed the clock at night.

    1. What is in Kow Soy that you don't like? Is it the spiciness? Is it the noodles?


Comments are very much welcome. However, I reserve the right to delete comments that contains spam.

Also drop by my other blog: Ahab Reviews and Tips - my tips and reviews blog.