Fermented bean paste, Muang Sing ໝາກຖົ່ວເນົ່າ mak tua nao

Fermented bean paste, Muang Sing ໝາກຖົ່ວເນົ່າ mak tua nao
Fermented bean paste, Muang Sing ໝາກຖົ່ວເນົ່າ mak tua nao

This salty and chilli-flavoured fermented soybean paste is widely available in Luang Namtha markets. To create it, soybeans are steamed and then put in a plastic bag in the sun where they are left for a time. They are then pounded with dried chillies, rice alcohol and salt. The mixture is left for between a month and a year. The paste is used to make the sauce for kao soi noodles. Koreans make similar pastes called doenjang and gochujang. The closest equivalent is Chinese douban jiang, a spicy, salty paste made from fermented broad beans, soybeans, red chilli peppers, salt and spices native to Sichuan.
An easy substitute is to buy bottled fermented yellow bean sauce with whole beans, drain the liquid and mash 1 cup of the beans with 1 teaspoon chilli powder or 1 tablespoon chilli flakes. Miso, spiced up with chilli powder, can also be used.

Kao soi with parboiled vegetables ເຂົ້າຊອຍ ກັບ ຜັກລວກ kao soi gap pak luak, which contain a generous dose of pork sauce made with fermented soy bean paste
Kao soi with parboiled vegetables ເຂົ້າຊອຍ ກັບ ຜັກລວກ kao soi gap pak luak, which contain a generous dose of pork sauce made with fermented soy bean paste

3 thoughts on “Fermented bean paste, Muang Sing ໝາກຖົ່ວເນົ່າ mak tua nao

  1. I landed on your website while I’m researching on “tua nao.” I read many books to learn history of Sushi and found the roots was in Northern Laos, Thailand, Yunnan in China. So I have been very eager to learn Northern Laos dishes. I’m so thrilled that I found your site!

    Khao soi in Thailand and Laos seems so different. My guess is that Laos Khao soi tastes more like Japanese foods. Actually some of the northern Laos foods looks like Japanese foods.

    My question to you is whether or not all tua nao in Laos add chilli. Do you think I can find tua nao from Laos in Los Angeles? Tua nao in Laos sounds more like Miso to Natto. As there are so many variation in Japanese miso, I wonder if there is more kinds than just one. Here is my blog link introducing variety of miso in Japan:
    http://ifoodstory.com/20110322/miso-making-101-an-introduction/

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    1. Hi, Yoko,
      Next time I am in Luang Namtha I will find out whether there is mak tua nao without chilli. I have never seen it in the markets anywhere in the province or eaten it. However, I have an invitation to visit a place where it is made in Muang Sing and document how it is made, very close to the Chinese border so I can find out via this famiy’s networks about a non-chilli version. I don’t know if you can buy mak tua nao in LA, as I live in Thailand. Maybe someone else out there knows? BTW, I love your website and will add a link to it on this website. I’d be very interested to hear about the origins of miso. Many thanks, Dorothy

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