Chanchao's Chiang Mai Food Review
Reviews of restaurants and Thai food stalls in Chiang Mai, Thailand
By: Chanchao in Chiang Mai

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Tuesday, 8-Jun-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Khanom Thuay.. Little ceramic custard cups

Khanom Thuay vendor
Also other Thai sweets available
Packed and served in environmentally sustainable banana leaf :)
One more from the endless list of Thai sweets & desserts: Khanom Thuay, which are small cups of sweet pandanus leaf or coconut jelly, with some thicker coconut custard on top. They're made in little ceramic cups, but then taken out before serving. Be careful though that the white coconut custard can be a bit on the salty side; this is done to balance the sweetness of it all. I personally don't like it when it's too salty..

The pictures here are of a random street vendor, this one near Wat Nantharam off Wua Lai road just South of the city center. I think one of the best in Chiang Mai can probably be found at the Three Kings Monument, near all the little restaurants and vendors. (See this review)

A small serving, often packed in banana leaf goes for a friendly 10 baht..

Monday, 7-Jun-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Upper Crust Cafe, Bakery, Mexican, Italian, Sandwiches, etc.

Upper Crust Cafe. And rather traditional looking fruit vendor :)
Aircon interior, very popular with tourists
Taco's at 90 baht. Or 145 baht for the combo with guacamole etc.
View all 4 photos...
Six pages of food without a blip of Mexican food and here we go with two entries on Mexican food right after another.. Well, when it rains, it pours. Upper Crust Cafe is actually quite a bit more than any one particular cuisine, it's a very Western tourist oriented place that serves sandwiches, some Tex-Mex, some Italian, breakfasts, cookies, cakes, coffee, shakes and so on, all in a nice, bright and cool air-conditioned little restaurant. It also has newspapers available which really would make it a solid Sunday Morning choice for breakfast or lunch, kind of what JJ Bakery used to be a decade ago. But.. sadly... as I found out last Sunday morning... they only open at 12 o'clock noon! Incredible. Let's hope someone there gets a grip soon and opens mornings.. (A branch of JJ Bakery is just a little behind Upper Crust in the same building on the back side, AND open in the morning...)

Prices are moderate, not real cheap but likely nobody would expect it to be a real cheapie, being an aircon establishment smack in the middle of the Night Bazar tourist market, the most touristed part of town. The Taco dish pictured goes for 90 baht, or for 145 baht you can go for the 'combo' version that comes with guacamole, beans and rice. Most dishes on the menu come in a basic version and a combo version with some 'sides'.

This makes it more expensive for Mexican food than Salsa Kitchen (see below), but air-conditioning and rent at the Chiang Inn Plaza Building cost money too.. I have to say Upper Crust feels a bit more, dare I say it, 'authentic' Tex-Mex, though everything I said below about the absence of 'real' Mexican or even 'real' Tex-Mex in Chiang Mai still applies.

Upper Crust is on Chang Klan road, right in the middle of the Night Bazar on the corner of the Chiang Inn Plaza mall building.

Sunday, 6-Jun-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Salsa Kitchen, Mexican Food

Salsa Kitchen Mexican Food
Taco Set at 99 baht
View all 5 photos...
Let me first state that truly awesome Mexican food or even awesome US-American-Mexican food like you could get in Texas or California is completely out of the question in Chiang Mai. There are quite a few Mexican restaurants though, and most of them never see a Mexican either working there or coming to eat. If you adjust your expectations accordingly, you can still find some interesting Mexican-ish food that's good in taste and a nice change from regular Asian or Western food.

Such a place is Salsa Kitchen, it's a pretty basic wood & bamboo semi-outdoors affair, run by a Canadian and his Thai wife. Prices are friendly too, big servings of all the common tex-mex staples are on the menu for 70-100 baht each.

Salsa kitchen is in a fairly recently developed plot of land on the corner of Ratwithee and Ratchaphakinai Roads. If this doesn’t ring a bell, this is where you drive past the Irish pub and then either enter the little soi on the right immediately after the Irish Pub and then left, or continue until the traffic lights and then turn right, and then right again into this area where mostly some backpacker reggae/rasta themed bamboo bars are located.

Friday, 28-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Thai Desserts

Dessert stall near Chang Phuak gate
Order individual items or just a mix
Eat with a clear syrup and ice, or with added white coconut
View all 6 photos...
All this food on these pages and somehow never got around to dessert.. Makes for some nice colorful pictures too. Many restaurants would have Thai desserts on the menu along with things like ice cream, usually under the general heading 'khong wan', or 'sweet stuff'. Most often it is ordered as 'ruam mit', literally meaning 'shared friends' which refers to having lots of different sweet bits together in one bowl. You can order it with just a clear sweet syrup and shaved ice, or with white sweet coconut milk added as well. You don't have to order ruam-mit style, at food styles like the one pictured here you can cherry-pick exactly what you want in it. While many of the items look very artificial, they're all actually made from natural ingredients.

This particular food stall is located at the Chang Phuak night food stall area, on Maneenopparat road along the city moat, just before you get to Chang Phuak Gate. One serving goes for 10 baht or so.

Wednesday, 26-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Expansion of Chiang Mai / Ring Road Restaurants

Thalay Pow restaurant, one of MANY along the ring road
Very nice dish of seafood, cashews and lots of herbs & spices
Curried seafood in a fresh coconut with shrimp, squid and crab
View all 21 photos...
You may not notice this so much if you mostly spend your time in the city area, but I think Chiang Mai is currently expanding at an incredible rate. Especially along the new ring roads that have been built there are many new businesses and housing compounds springing up. And restaurants. Many, many restaurants, pubs, bars, karaokes, you name it. I drove around half of the new Middle Ring road today and noted all the new restaurants that have sprung up.. some very low key, like some bamboo thatched covers selling whiskey and some snacks, others rather professional looking restaurants.. It would be a fair bet to say that many or most of these won't make it, or will change hands and/or change names in the near future. Have a look at all the pictures for this entry to see the variety of new little restaurants.

But first things first, so I started with the very first restaurant you get to from where the Middle Ring road starts (or ends, it's all relative), South of Chiang Mai at the Canal Road. This one is just called 'Thalay Pow', (Grilled Seafood), no English sign. And you know what, it was pretty good! Interesting menu, very fresh shrimp, good service by mostly very gay looking staff. I especially liked the opening page of the menu, that went like:

    Breaking a glass: 30 Baht
    Breaking plates or ash trays: 80 baht
    Throwing up inside the restaurant, cleaning fee: 300 baht.

Hm. Seems they expect some rowdy clientele.. Or makes you worry about the food that perhaps makes you throw up right away.. The other customers seemed to be rather normal & friendly looking local families though, and the food was excellent. Also the prices were really a lot cheaper than comparable food would cost in town. I will give more of these places along the ring road a try some time!

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