Things seem easy in Thailand.

There are no worries and hassles, and the only thing more amazing that the price is the sheer array of choices offered. From edible goods to tacky knickknacks that scream "Thai-as-hell", souvenir-picking in Thailand is a piece of cake, provided you are not already overwhelmed by all the options available.

The northern city of Chiang Mai has long been considered the cultural capital of the country. Just like its arts and heritage, the food produced in this region is nothing like those in the south. This explains why a person from Bangkok would feel obliged to make a mandatory stop at Chiang Mai's Warorot Market (ตลาดวโรรส) to buy the local specialties to be brought along with them back to the city. (According to the Thailand Department of Tourism, 9.5 millions out of the 14.1 million visitors in Chiang Mai in 2013 are really just Thais).

Almost at the end of your amazing Thai trip? Here are the top 5 souvenir ideas from Chiang Mai you must bring home!

what to buy in chiang mai
Top 5 Souvenir Ideas From Chiang Mai

Top 5 Souvenir Ideas From Chiang Mai

Sai Oua (ไส้อั่ว)

Sai Oua is a type of grilled sausage found in northern Thailand and the Laotian region that is made out of coarsely chopped pork, lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal, coriander leaves, chilies, shallots, and other seasonings. Each bite releases rich, fragrant flavors especially of the lemongrass. Sai Oua is usually served as starter alongside the fiery Nam Prik Nume, a Thai version of salsa.

Sai Oua ไส้อั่ว
Sai Oua sold at the Warorot Market in Chiang Mai

Naem (แหนม)

Also known as Jim Som (literally: sour meat), Naem is a type of fermented pork that is soured using cooked sticky rice. In the olden days when refrigerators have yet to be invented, there are usually plenty of meat left after a pig is slaughtered. In order to avoid letting the excess go to waste, the pork would then be finely chopped and combined with leftover sticky rice to be preserved. The result? A addictive and delicious pork dish with a very distinctive sourness that sets it apart from every other type of cured meat in the world. Aroi mak mak!

Naem แหนม
Easy packs of Naem Taeng sold in the markets

Pork Rinds/Kaeb Moo

These bite-size pork rinds are deep-fried in generous amount of salt, cloves, crushed coriander stalks and garlic. Each of these crispy, puffy golden brown cracklings comes with fatty pockets which will delicately crumble in your mouth.

Pork Rinds Kaeb Moo
Pretty much crushed, but still good!

Nam Prik Noom (น้ำพริกหนุ่ม)

This Thai version of salsa is used as a relish with almost any kind of dish served on the table. This chunky green chili dip is made using generous amount of hot rooster spur peppers (Prik Chee Fah).

Nam Prik Noom น้ำพริกหนุ่ม
Nam Prik Noom bottled and travel-friendly

Nam Prik Ong (น้ำพริกอ่อง)

This red chili dip has a slightly milder taste compared to the green one as it is made using a tomato-based paste, minced pork, coriander, and dried bird’s eye chilies. It is most frequently referred to as "Thai Bolognese".

Nam Prik Ong น้ำพริกอ่อง
Example of Nam Prik Ong sold in Chiang Mai

Shopping for foodstuffs in Chiang Mai has been made simple because most of them are properly sealed, packaged, and ready for takeaway. Listed above is just one of the few specialty Chiang Mai snacks which make great gifts for the loved ones back home.

Happy traveling!
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