Kaeng hang le
Hang Le in Chiang Rai
Place of originThailand
Region or stateNorthern Thailand
Main ingredientsPork, masala spice mix
Food energy
(per serving)
540 calories kcal
Similar dishesBurmese pork curry

Kaeng hang le (Thai: แกงฮังเล, pronounced [kɛ̄ːŋ hāŋ lēː]) is a rich Northern Thai pork curry. Kaeng hang le is very popular in Northern Thailand, well-known as a specialty of the region.[1] The curry differs from traditional northern Thai curries in several respects: it is typically eaten with long-grained rice, not sticky rice, and uses dried spices, which are commonly used in Burmese, but not northern Thai curries.[1] The dish is commonly served as a festive dish in northern Thailand.[2]


Kaeng hang le originates from Myanmar, and the name "hang le" is derived from the Burmese word "hin lay" (ဟင်းလေး, transcribed hang le), which means "heavy curry."[3][4] In fact, many restaurants in Chiang Mai call it ‘Burmese curry.’ From 1579 to 1775, the Lan Na kingdom was ruled by the Burmese, until it became a vassal state of Siam in the late 1700s.[1] The dish may have been introduced to northern Thailand by the Shan people, who live in Myanmar's Shan State, which borders Northern Thailand.[1] In neighbouring Myanmar, a pork curry called wet tha hin (ဝက်သားဟင်း) includes a sour component, just as the Thai version includes tamarind.[1][3]

Ingredients and preparation

Kaeng hang le is made using a curry paste of fresh herbs like lemongrass, galangal, garlic, shallots, shrimp paste (kapi), dried chilies, and salt, all of which are pounded in a mortar and pestle.[1][5] The pork is then marinated with the curry paste, seasoned with a masala spice mix, black soy sauce, fish sauce, and then slowly simmered with julienned ginger, garlic, shallots, pickled garlic, peanuts, and santol until a layer of oil has risen to the top.[1][3]

Kaeng hang le is traditionally made with pork belly, but can be substituted with chicken, beef or fish. The masala spice mix used to make kaeng hang le (called phong masala or phong hang le) is composed of numerous dried spices, including long pepper, nutmeg, clove, camphor seeds, black pepper, mace, fennel, cumin, fenugreek, dried garlic, cinnamon, coriander seed, cubeb, chili, dried ginger, bay leaf, turmeric powder, white sesame seeds, and mustard seeds.[1]


Kaeng hang le has several numerous varieties, which differ in terms of ingredients (e.g., sliced ginger), recipe proportions, and cooking methods.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bush, Austin (2018-10-23). The Food of Northern Thailand: A Cookbook. Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed. pp. 210–212, 164–167. ISBN 978-0-451-49749-9.
  2. ^ "How To Make: Kaeng hang lay". Austin Bush. Retrieved 2023-05-13.
  3. ^ a b c "Kaeng hang Le". Lanna Food | Northern Thai Information Center, Chiang Mai University Library. 2007. Retrieved 2023-05-13.
  4. ^ Thaw Kaung (2014-05-08). "Myanmar Food: Traditional and Change". TODAY. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  5. ^ "Northern Style Hang Lay Curry (gaaeng hang laeh muu ; แกงฮังเลหมู)". Thaifoodmaster. 2010-06-06. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  6. ^ "Kaeng hang le". LIFE SE ASIA MAGAZINE. 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2023-05-13.
  7. ^ "Kaeng ho". Lanna Food | Northern Thai Information Center, Chiang Mai University Library. Retrieved 2023-05-13.