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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Monday, 17-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Mango Tree

Mango Tree Restaurant
Airconditioned, with live or recorded music that's not too loud
Chicken in blue cheese sauce & chips. Good big glass of wine too
View all 10 photos...
Note: This place didn't make it in this location. The owner has moved to a slightly out of town location. More as I learn of it. Meanwhile, that building now has changed to..... yup, yet another bar!

However there's good news too, because the place next door, called the 'Mayflower' is still there and is improving all the time. The French owner really has a good menu together, and the prices are very reasonable. He offers a big range of food, including some more 'bar type' food like pizza and fries. And.... they deliver to any bar in the vicinity

Mango Tree Restaurant is still a bit of an odd one out on this stretch of Loi Kroh road, which is known for the girlie bars catering mostly to a Western tourist clientele. Mango Tree could even be called slightly up-market, and serves very good Western as well as Thai food. In many cities of the world, some of the best restaurants can be found in 'red light' areas, and Mango Tree would certainly not be an exception to the rule. In all fairness I'm not sure the area actually qualifies as a 'red light district' in the Western sense of the word; there's certainly no brothels there, just bars, and the area isn't overly dodgy or sleazy. Yet if you're male and have a pulse, it's quite likely some friendly ladies from the bars there will invite you in for a drink when going to Mango Tree. Besides the usual pictures of the place and the food I also include some pics of the bars around, be sure to view all 9 photos. Most of the bars are quite friendly really, good places for a drink, play some pool or chat with the staff.

Mango Tree's prices are a bit above average for Western food in Chiang Mai, but then again the taste and quality is well above average as well. The menu is pretty big with many British, Italian and general Western dishes to choose from. Most main courses are in the 100-200 baht price range. Mango Tree is on the corner of Loi Kroh road and Kotchasarn road, close to the city moat.

Sunday, 16-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Sweet dumplings from the pot's mouth (Khao kriab pak mor)

Khao Kriab Pak Mor
Little pots used for steaming on a piece of cloth
Served with some herbs and chillies (!)
View all 4 photos...
This sweet snack/desert is made by steaming dumplings filled with a sweet filling on a piece of cloth on top of a pot/bowl whcih is then covered for steaming. You will find this at (food) markets, or at this shop here that made it their specialty. I'm pretty positive that this is the best / most reliable place for it in Chiang Mai. The shop is on Charoen Rat road, this is the road that goes up along the East bank of the Ping river between Nawarat bridge and Nakhorn Ping bridge. This is the road where The Riverside, the Good View and several other big river-side restaurants are. The shop is on the left hand side, before you get to Nakhorn Ping bridge / Kaew Nawarat Road. 20 baht gets you a styrofoam box full.

Saturday, 15-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

Sizzad Buffet, Steak & Salad
Salad + veggies. Meats are fried at the counter in the back
..65 baht.. and you can go for seconds and thirds..
View all 7 photos...
In many ways Thailand is the land of the free. It's way free-er than some countries that continuously pat themselves on the back saying how free they are. Don't believe me? Go open a pub or restaurant in the West and call it "Khon Kaen Fried Chicken", or KFC for short. Or a "Rock Hard Cafe". Or anything else that is, erm, inspired, by an existing brand, either name or style. (Be sure to check all pictures for this entry to see what I mean.)

Enter Sizzad Buffet, Steak & Salad. Note the sign. Does that remind you of something? It's inspired of course on the Sizzler restaurants, a big American chain that has some stores in Thailand as well. It's also quite expensive food by Thai standards, especially Chiang Mai standards. Not so at Sizzad, which is an all-you-can-eat 'steak' buffet restaurant. Note that the word 'steak' in Thailand is not exclusively limited to beef steak; you can easily have pork steak, chicken steak and even fish steak and Sizzad has them all. I would even say that the fish & chicken is the better choice than the beef, as regular Thai beef doesn't quite compare with 'proper' imported steaks from New Zealand and the like. But nothing wrong with the pork, chicken and fish and you could assemble a pretty decent 'fish & chips' at this place. While it's buffet style, meats and fish are prepared fresh all the time. (Or during the more popular lunch and dinner hours anyway).

There's also a salad bar, spaghetti & sauce and bread and none of these are anything to write home about. Just like a Thai restaurant in the West may serve Thai food that sorta-kinda looks like Thai food but completely lacks something, so do these side dishes here. The usual things are wrong with it, actually: The salad cream is too sweet, the bread the standard mushy 7-eleven factory type and the spaghetti sauce is like it came out of a Tesco house-brand can.. But let's give them a break, and look at the big picture: Crispy hot fried fish & French fries, some veggies on the side, be creative and "make your own chicken-burger" with the bread... and drop just 65 baht on the whole meal.

Sizzad is on the Chang Klan road, this is the Night Bazar road, but much further South from where the Night Bazar area is. When coming from the Night Bazar, it's on the right hand side of the road.

Friday, 14-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Khao Mao - Fried Banana & Coconut

Stalls right beside an old pagoda ruin, at the 3 Kings Monument
Fried banana (left) and khao mao (right)
Khao mao up close & personal :)
View all 4 photos...
I've written about banana fritters before, here, but at that time left out the Mercedes Benz of fried banana: khao mao. For regular fried banana, the banana is dipped in a simple rice flour batter and then fried, sometimes with sesame seeds and pandanus leaves for added flavour. For khao mao, the banana is covered in a thicker coconut coating first and then fried. Do look out for them when you're getting fried banana, the taste of sweet banana & coconut goes real well together. If you get khao mao fresh & warm and then also source some ice cream and Cointreau liquor to go with it then you've got a dessert that's so good that authorities in charge of the social-order campaign would most likely ban it if the word ever got out. Don't tell anyone you got this from me. 0)

Wednesday, 12-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Khanom Khrok miniature pancakes

Khanom Khrok stall ("Phee Tu")
Baking khanom khrok on pans with small round holes in them.
10 Baht gets you quite a lot..
View all 5 photos...
The further you go, the more things look the same it seems sometimes. From holidaying in Europe, I distinctly recall these Dutch style miniature pancakes. Thailand has a sweet snack that looks rather similar, though they're not quite the same in taste and structure.

The Thai 'khanom khrok' are equally crisp on the outside, but the inside remains more 'custardy' rather than 'doughy' of the Dutch/Danish variety. Also either sweet corn, taro or spring onions (yes) are added to give three different varieties, though the white coconut-custard remains the dominant flavour.

Khanom Khrok can be found all over town, mostly at markets or like this one on Kaew Nawarat Road, after the Bamrungrat Road traffic lights but well before you get to McCormick Hospital. 10 Baht gets you quite a lot of them.

On two non-food related pictures I include we can see that the hot & hazy season is definitely over in Chiang Mai. Had some long awaited rain that freshened everything up, and you can almost see the place turn more 'green' by the hour. During the hottest/haziest times, you couldn't even see Doi Suthep mountain which is right next to the city. Now you can clearly see that we're actually in a big valley, with mountain ranges all around. You can even see Doi Inthanon, Thailands highest mountain. The summit is some 100 kms away from Chiang Mai city.

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