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, 25-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Sai Ua - Spicy Northern Thai Sausage

Gao Makham Sai Ua
Grilling on charcoal
Sai Ua & Sticky Rice
View all 6 photos...
If you ask some Thais to name a dish that Chiang Mai is famous for then there's a good chance you'll hear 'sai ua' more than once. It's a sausage that can vary a bit in spiciness and is made with several local herbs and spices. It's mostly sold grilled on charcoal, though many of the big shops also sell it 'fresh', wholesale style. Many Thais who come for a holiday or business visit to Chiang Mai would bring some Sai Ua and other Northern foods and snacks back home.

You can find Sai Ua at most markets and the odd road-side food stall. It's mostly eaten with some sticky rice and Nam Phrik Noom: A green chili dip made from long green chilies.

I feel compelled to include the most 'famous' place for Sai Ua in Chiang Mai, which is 'Mengrai Sai Ua' right next to the Sheraton Hotel (formerly named Westin Hotel) before you get to the bridge over the Ping river. (Photo 4, 5 and 6) At 22 baht per 100 grams it's also one of the more expensive ones, and frankly I like the vendor at some nameless market way down the Canal Road past the middle Ring Road a lot better. He's getting pretty famous himself, and sells his Sai Ua now for 20 baht per 100 grams.

Monday, 24-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Italian Lang Mo

Italian Lang Mo
Open kitchen, you can see them prepare your food
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Italian Lang Mo is not the official name of this place but it's more the colloquial name, translating as 'The Italian behind Chiang Mai University', with 'Mo' being an abbreviation of 'Mo Cho' which in turn is an abbreviation for Chiang Mai University (Mahawithayalai Chiang Mai).. ... Oh you're still here?

I've seen the sign for this one before, but the main sign on Suthep Road looked so unimpressive that I never really considered checking it out until it was recommended to me. And I have a weak spot for Western food in distinctly non-Western, non-tourist areas so went over to give it a try. It turns out that the place looks and feels far fancier and more professional than I thought: This is a proper Italian restaurant that charges a good deal less than some of the Italians downtown. Some of those downtown Italians are most definitely better and have a more varied menu, but Italian Lang Mo is still pretty good and not expensive. Also the house wine at 50 baht for a good glass is a steal.

Keep in mind that the food is mostly aimed at a Thai clientele. This means that some of the dishes may turn out to be a tad spicier compared to your average Italian.. Prices are moderate, most pasta dishes for example go for 70-80 baht each.

To get there, take Suthep Road driving towards the university. Keep going straight at the Canal Road intersection. A bit further you will see the sign on the left hand side, the restaurant is a couple of meters into a soi on the left.

Thursday, 20-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Chinese Restaurant & Mushroom Suki (and TEA!)

Mushroom Suki Chinese Restaurant
Awesome.. now THAT's a teapot..!
Peking Duck served with steamed pancakes & condiments
View all 12 photos...
Up to now I've mostly reviewed places that are on the cheaper end of the scale, with lots of attention for small restaurants, food stalls and Thai market food. Today we're going for something special though, at an up-market Chinese 'Pattakarn'. 'Pattakarn' is Thai for 'up-market restaurant', and then mostly Chinese restaurants. Ordinary restaurants are called 'raan ahaan', which translates literally as 'food shop'. Almost all restaurants in Thailand, also the bigger ones, still call themselves raan ahaan in a very down to earth way, but there are some distinctly posh places that call themselves 'pattakarn's. I personally feel a healthy reluctance to trying over-the-top looking places, as I firmly believe in paying for food and not for 'image', or for those evening-gown clad hostesses at the entrance or a personal waitress at your table eager to re-fill your beer after every sip. But I was in luck with this place, there really is a lot to like about it, and I can't honestly qualify many dishes as all that expensive!

Perhaps the main positive surprise for me at this place was perhaps not even their big range of mushrooms imported from China, which you can eat 'suki' style, by boiling them in broth/soup at your table. Or even the range of other Chinese favorites, like the excellent dim sum, suckling pig or Peking duck.. The main surprise was the tea. The very fragrant, 'perfumy' Chinese tea with 8 different herbs & spices in them. And the way in which they serve it, from a very large brass kettle with an outrageously long spout. I bet that takes a lot of practice to serve tea like that, check out all 12 photos.. Oh yes, this tea cost just 20 baht per person, including unlimited refills! Those are my kind of prices.. With the also excellent dim sum priced at 30 baht per bamboo steam-tray of 3-4 pieces, I can just see myself going here just for the dim sum, some appetizers & tea and really not drop a lot of money..

Of course if you want to spend money then you can: the Chinese 'heavies' also feature on the menu, like shark fin soup, a whole suckling pig at 600 baht, or Peking Duck for 420 baht. But that does give you a lot of food.. For the Peking Duck they serve you the crispy skin first with sauces, spring onions and the Chinese steamed 'mu-shi' pancakes to wrap them in. Then the actual duck meat can be prepared any style you like. There's enough meat to do 2 or even 3 dishes, the first is included in the 420 baht, and any additional dish is 80 baht extra. So when you order the Peking Duck with 2 additional duck dishes then you drop 500 baht. Really this is best done with a group of people. While you can probably finish it all with 2 or 3 people, you will be a little 'ducked out' afterwards..

I didn't try the mushroom suki yet, I'm not a huge fan of suki and the incredibly annoying commercials of Thailand's biggest suki chain don't help either, but then again I know some mushroom-freaks who will be delighted to try all the weird mushrooms on offer.

Mushroom Suki Restaurant (Pattakarn Suki Hed) is on Aom Muang road, the southern stretch of the inner ring road, on the corner of Chiang Mai Land road.

Wednesday, 19-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Jerusalem Falafel

Jerusalem Falafel Restaurant
Hummus & Falafel in Pita bread & Jerusalem Salad
View all 4 photos...
There are not many places for Middle Eastern food in Chiang Mai. In Bangkok there's the Sukhumvit soi 3 area that has an abundance of Arab food places. In Chiang Mai there are a couple of Arab restaurants, but they don't seem to be doing that well.. Which is a shame, because I think Middle Eastern food is a great break from the usual Thai and/or Western fare. Jerusalem Falafel is Israeli of course, though many of the dishes are best described as 'general Mediterranean', throwing in also some Greek and Italian favorites. Noting the similarity between Israeli and Arab food I just can't help but wonder why these people don't get along better.

Anyway, Jerusalem Falafel is an excellent place. The salads are great, and another 'must' is the set of 'meze' dishes with pita bread, a collection of dips & sauces (most notably hummus and tzatziki), grilled meats, cheeses and falafel of course, the ground spiced chickpea balls that gave this place it's name. Eating 'meze' style is best enjoyed with a group of people so you can order lots of different things. If it isn't already obvious, there are also many options here for vegetarians.

Prices are pretty moderate, most dishes are in the 70-80 baht range, including the Falafel & hummus pita bread shown above.

Jerusalem Falafel is on Moon Muang Road, just South of Thapae Gate.

Tuesday, 18-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Raad Na

Raad Na Phichit
Busy during lunch time
Rather elaborate seafood raad na with thin rice noodles
View all 5 photos...
Another day, and yet another Thai noodle dish. Raad Na this time, which is rice noodles with meat or seafood in a fairly thick gravy sauce. Most often you see this with wide noodles, though this place also does it with the very thin 'mee' noodles. Many small food shops and restaurants can do raad na, but this restaurant seems dedicated to the dish, which is why I picked this one, called 'Raad Na Phichit' (no English sign).

The seafood variation is pretty elaborate for a small road-side restaurant, throwing in some quail's eggs, fried shrimp, squid and fish-balls. It comes at a price though, while the regular version with pork meat is 25 baht, the seafood version goes for 40. Besides raad naa, also Phad See Iw (fried noodles with soi sauce & meat or seafood) features on the menu.

Phichit Raad Na is on Chang Klan road, the night bazar road, but further South from the night bazar. It's on the right hand side when coming from the night bazar area. Opening hours are 9am to 8pm.

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