Nam Prik Ong, a spicy tomato sauce, hails from the Northern region of Thailand and has a distinctive, appealing reddish-orange hue. Tomatoes and dried chilis are simmered until they form a thick, slightly oily paste. The paste should be sour, salty, spicy, and sweet and is usually consumed with pork knuckle and vegetables.
The word ‘Ong’ in northern dialect means cooking until the water evaporates and the dish clearly reflects their culture as the majority of ingredients are grown and sourced locally.
One story related to this dish tells of a Burmese immigrant named Ong Mong who wanted to eat rice noodles with cotton flower soup. While the chili paste for the soup was being pounded, Ong Mong’s son began crying and wouldn’t stop. Ong Mong became so angry that he scooped up some of the unfinished chili paste and fed it to his boy, along with some vegetables that were lying around. It turned out to be delicious and became a dish all of its own, one which eventually became known as “Grandpa Ong’s Chili Paste” which was eventually shorted to Nam Prik Ong, as it remains known today.