Located in the trendy Thai hipster area of Nimman, just a short walk from the Buri Siri Hotel where I was spending the night, Tong Tem Toh is a great place to experience real Lanna dishes in a relaxed and fun environment. This of course means that TTT is ridiculously popular and as they don’t take reservations, you are best advised to go early in order to queue. I found the staff super helpful & friendly and the lady who allocated wait numbers was pretty accurate with waiting times so just try to be patient as those that persevere will be in for a real treat!
I was really struggling to narrow down what I wanted to eat as there is just so much choice on the menu, from Thai Chilli Dips to Salads, Soups, Curries, Stir-fries & Grilled Meat, the unmistakable smell of which wafts alluringly through the streets, like a sirens call, luring you in.
I eventually settled on the Northern Thai Appetiser Selection as I thought it would be the best way to ensure I tried a few dishes, thankfully they let me cancel my main course order once the appetiser arrived, because as you can see, well it’s rather large for one!
In the centre of the plate you have two types of Thai Chilli Dips or “Nam Prik“; Nam Prik Ong, made with minced pork, tomatoes, chilli, herbs and lemongrass and Nam Prik Noom which is made from fire roasted peppers that are then crushed with chilli, garlic, fish sauce & shallots. These are intended to be eaten with the lightly blanched vegetable crudités and sticky rice and are a great start to any Thai meal.
Moving clockwise, after the cabbage, you have Jeen Som Mok Kai – fatty fermented pork & egg that is wrapped in banana leaf & left to ferment for a few days before being grilled. I’m not a big fan of fermented pork as I find it too sour, but it was interesting to try all the same.
Next is one of my favourite Thai dishes, Sai Oua. This is another type of pork sausage, where the pork is mixed with little cubes of fat and curry paste with lemongrass and galangal (amongst others) before being grilled. The curry adds a lovely spicy kick to the sausage, absolute perfection!
More pork! As you might have guessed, Lanna food is piggie heaven! Khaep Moo is a type of crispy pork rind popular in Thailand, both a snack eaten alone or with Nam Prik, as well as a topping for salads such as Som Tam or Yum Makruea Yao (Roast Eggplant Salad)
The second sausage on the appetiser plate is Moo Yor, a boiled pork sausage made with minced pork, flour and seasoning, which is wrapped in a banana leaf and boiled. Definitely my least favourite of the dishes I tried, mostly owing to the fact that its just not interesting enough to stand up to the Sai Oua or even the Jeen Som Mok Kai.
The boiled eggs were probably the biggest surprise of the night. I was expecting them to be hard boiled, but in fact they were beautiful gooey and soft in the centre which made them perfect for dunking the Khaep Moo into!
With a couple of large beers, dinner at TTT came to around 500 THB or around $14, I would imagine that it would usually cost anywhere from $10-$15 pp depending on how many dishes you wanted to try, so it is definitely worth ordering a few new dishes to try & see how you like them!
Tong Tem Toh
11 Nimman Haeminda Soi 13, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50200
11 am – 11 pm daily (the grilled meats are only available in the evening)