When you think about Thai snacks, pastry isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind. Allow me to introduce to you the humble Karipap – or curry puff. These little pastries are crispy flaky pastry stuffed with a tasty curried filling. The most common fillings are potato and chicken, taro or beans, although I guess it’s up to the cook as to what goes in…
We first encountered these in the UK, when we visited the Thai temple in Wimbledon for Loi krathong festival. Whilst wandering around the stalls in the freezing November cold, Mr spotted these and got a box. They look like little Cornish pasties, but with circular layers of pastry instead. The first one was tentatively nibbled, and the second gone in two bites. He’s been smitten ever since!
So when we were on our way back from learning Thai at school one day, we saw a queue of people, and as per our rule of ‘any food with a queue of locals must be good’, we stopped to investigate. We found a lady selling Karipap and Mr, instantly recognising his favourite little snacks, got in the queue. After just one bite he declared it the ‘best curry puff in Chiang Mai’. And as he eats them wherever we go, he should know! The people in front of use were buying up by the box full, and at only 5 baht each why not?
They are crispy and flaky, and all fillings are delicious – slightly sweet and curried, and very very addictive. The carb – heavy fillings are comforting and satisfying, like a little spicy hug wrapped in pastry. Inside the shop you can see the girls making up the pastries – they are non stop all day and they still sell out! (If you fancy trying to make it yourself, here is a recipe to try).
This little shop is essentially a glass case full of Karipap, as shown in the photo below. It’s located on the west side of the old city, just on the corner on Arak soi 5 (and opposite Pun Pao steamed buns – another snack favourite!
One thing to note that whilst it is Arak soi 5, if you continue down it (confusingly) turns into Intrawarorot road. We’ve been past this shop at 10:30 in the morning and the latest we’ve seen it open is 18:30. It’s easy to miss as it’s shaded from the sun by big plastic sheets bearing unrelated advertising, but if you park near the corner you won’t miss it on foot!