What is Northern Thai Cuisine? Traditionally a very rural cuisine, Northern Thai food is an experience for all five senses. We never frown on using your hands as utensils – just don’t expect chopsticks here!The most significant difference with Northern Thai fair is that nearly every meal is accompanied with ‘khao niew’, sticky Jasmine rice meant for eating with your hands. Best enjoyed when formed into small croquettes, the sticky rice is dipped in the fresh chili pastes and sauces that are most prominent in Chiang Mai and its surrounding areas. Fresh and crunchy vegetables are served with every sauce, dip, and paste.