Khaosan Road is many things – a backpacker’s paradise, a fantastic shopping spot for hippy apparel, a 24-hour beer-fueled party. But it is not a place normally associated with delightful food. However, scratch beneath the surface, then scratch again, grab a shovel and dig deeper and deeper beneath all the culinary dreck, and finally you might unearth a jewel such as Madame Musur’s place.
This cozy restaurant (and super-chilled bar) serving northern Thai cuisine is hidden in Soi Rambutri, off Khaosan Road, just behind Wat Chanasongkram. It’s a little oasis that makes me feel like sitting down, eating a tasty meal and having a good, soulful conversation without the need to shout.
It also has great music and an outdoor terrace where you can lounge on big pillows. Nong, the owner, is originally from the north. She worked in the hospitality business for more than a decade but a couple of years ago she branched out, wanting to create something of her own.
Madame Musur serves the most well-known dishes from the north, including khaosoy (noodles in northern coconut milk curry), but hers is truly different because the paste is made from scratch. I promise you, it won’t simply be diluted coconut curry, the stuff you often get from places pretending to serve northern Thai cuisine. Rather, it is an intense, aromatic and harmonious curry soup!
Beyond khaosoy, I like Madame Musur‘s northern namprik num dip (a paste made from young green peppers) and namprik oong (a tomato paste). The secret to making these dips fresh every day is high quality ingredients and an understanding of the taste combinations involved. At Madame Musur they are served with generous portions of fresh local herbs and vegetables. The other stand-out dish here is cap moo, or deepfried pork fat. It sounds so unhealthy but it tastes so good! The Sai aou, or northern sausage, is also great – the sausage stuffing has a unique character with specific northern herbs and chilli. It is well-balanced – not too spicy or powerful.
At Madame Musur, I am never disappointed. It is a great place to catch-up over a prolonged evening of tasty food enjoyed in good company.
Soi Rambutri, behind Wat Chanasongkram
Opening hours: daily until 2am (kitchen closes around midnight)