Minced meat salads called larb are a very popular "country" food among the Thais. The dish is mostly identified with the regional cuisine of north-eastern Thailand, which the Thais call Isan, but Chiang Mai has its own variation, which can be a bit more like a soupy curry than the Isan style, which is usually rather dry by comparison.
Pat krapao, as it's called in Thai, is a rather 'standard' dish that you'll find available in just about every restaurant and road-side stall in Thailand. My Thai friends sometimes smile at my frequent orders for this dish, since many Thais consider it a bit pedestrian - what they order when they just can't think of anything else. I like to order pat krapao frequently not only because I like the flavor, but also because it's a remarkably flexible recipe. Every cook seems to have their own variation. Some put in more garlic, some more holy basil.
This is an extremely light stir-fry that can be served along side hotter curries or stir-fries to balance out a meal.
The spicy minced meat salad known as larb is found in many different styles all over Thailand. Variations abound, as the dish can be prepared with just about any kind of meat, including duck, chicken, catfish, prawn, beef, and on and on. Sometimes referred to as Thailand's own version of steak tartar, the meat is almost always served cooked, although there are some regional variations that serve it almost raw. Unlike most contemporary Thai dishes, larb was traditionally made some hours in advance of when it would be consumed.
Be Celeng Base Manis
Time to take a break from Thai food and try a little Balinese cuisine for a change. While Thai dishes tend to be quick light stir-fries, many Balinese and Indonesian dishes often take a bit more time and are a bit heavier.