Khao-So-I is the hot new kid on the block from Chiang Mai, a fresh take on the traditional khao soi, infusing the classic dish with Japanese twists and noodle prep. More than that, this space is still drawing huge crowds since its opening in October of last year—so BK put it to the test. 
The menu is warmly introduced via iPad from attentive staff. Built for efficiency, the restaurant allows guests to select their preferences via a tick-box menu. The eatery itself is decked out in dark wood hues and warm lighting, reminiscent of a cozy house, with a half-open kitchen churning out trays of khao soi.  
We started off with the fried marinated pork neck (B119)—crispy and light with a satisfyingly fatty pork neck. Despite the little chilies scattered across the top, it was pleasantly tingle-warm rather than scorching 
But we’re here for the khao soi. In Chiang Mai, you might expect to eat your floating drumstick on the corner of the road, sitting on a plastic stool, sweat pouring down your face and back. At Khao Soi-I, this dish is teamed with wagyu, lobster, and scallops. This is no place for the purist, though you can opt for chicken or pork. There’s also a choice of enjoying your noodles dry or in a broth. We ordered both.   
The first arrival was the Iwate Wagyu F1 (B499) torched right in front of us. The broth is complex, hearty, and wildly fragrant. Because the wagyu sits on top of the broth, it doesn’t cook or change in texture. The noodles had a springy, firm bite to them, but a creamier broth could have brought it home. The fish roe topping had conflicting flavors, overpowering the wagyu and detracting from the smokiness from the torch.  
Next up is the dried khao soi, with chicken, braised pork, and stir-fried noodles (B198). This one is reminiscent of stir-fried yakisoba, frying the noodles with the restaurant’s secret sauce. The dish was innovative and refreshing for people venturing away from traditional khao soi, and the noodles arrived with a fragrant lick of wok hei. While the noodles were a standout, the chicken and braised pork fell slightly short: dry pork and lacking in flavor. A little grilling and infusion could remedy this—or perhaps a touch more seasoning for depth.  
Both dishes were very well presented, with meticulous attention to detail, complete with elegant crockery and a thoughtful selection of condiments: lime, pickled mustard greens, raw shallots, chili, and crispy noodles. 
Khao-So-I is an example of how traditional khao-soi can be elevated without sacrificing its essence. With their impeccable customer service and attention to detail, they’ve created an impressive dining experience. 
4/2-3, Convent Rd., 062-591-3791, Open daily 10:30am-9pm (last order at 8:30pm). 

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