A sad and embarassing confession: until this weekend I’d never been to Sticky Rice Thai. Sticky Rice, as Reader contributor Nicholas Day notes, is a wonder cabinet of Thai delicacies, so I felt fortunate to be making my virgin visit as part of a hungry party of ten. Together we managed to sample 16-odd dishes–though we still barely made a dent in the dizzying menu.

Sticky Rice specializes in northern Thai cuisine–less seafood, more pork and veggies, rich use of herbs, and the ubiquitous glutinous, ever-so-slightly-sweet rice, dipped into dishes and eaten with your fingers. Among the standouts: nam prik ong, ground pork cooked in a rich, savory mash of tomatoes, onion, and chili; gui chai, fluffy, toothsome rice dumplings stuffed with chives; spicy Thai sausage redolent of red curry and pepper; deep-fried catfish stir-fried with bamboo shoots and red chili paste; and kow soy, the egg noodle and coconut broth soup that’s the de facto official dish of Chiang Mai.

The window of the Western Avenue storefront heralds the return of deep-fried bamboo caterpillars–but that’ll have to wait till next time.