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, 11-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Fried Icecream & Riverside Restaurants Roundup

The Gallery Restaurant
Fried Ice cream! (And Tiramisu, which was pretty okay too)
Another place for fried icecream (left): Som Tam Yok Khrok
View all 4 photos...
The venue for today's 'review' is The Gallery, a rather up-market restaurant on the river, but I'm going to pretty much pass on absolutely everything the place has to offer and just rant on ONE of their deserts: Fried Ice cream.

Fried ice cream is ice cream in any kind of batter that's then deep fried real fast, fast enough to keep the ice-cream still in a solid state, but giving it a crispy coating. This is nothing short of food for the Gods.

The Gallery like I mentioned is perhaps the most up-market of all the restaurants on the river. When crossing the Nawarat bridge across the river at the end of Thapae Road, you first find The Riverside Bar & Restaurant on the left on the river. You basically cannot go wrong there with the food, and it's a popular spot for live music for local Thais as well as foreigners, especially on weekends.

Next to there is The Good View. This one is distinctly more flash & yuppie-ish, as opposed to the more cozy feel at The Riverside. The live music at the Good View varies a bit, but is almost always quite loud. On the plus side, The Good View often has new dishes on the specials-menu making it more interesting if you like trying new things. Also order an Irish Coffee there sometime.. they prepare it at your table and is quite an impressive show. (But then it'd better be, at 160 baht or so.)

Then next to The Good View is The Gallery, which has a handicraft store area in front, and a restaurant area in the back on the river. The Gallery is the most expensive, roughly 50% more than most other riverside restaurants. However, they have fried ice cream on the menu.

Next to The Gallery is The Brasserie, another riverside restaurant, but this one features decent live music that mostly appeals to a younger foreign crowd. 'Took' is a locally famous guitarist who, when he's up for it and not too stoned, plays excellent rock & blues music, think Santana and Jimi Hendrix and so on, a nice break from standard Thai or Western pop. Get there later in the evening though, say 11pm onwards.

Note that there are far more big & popular restaurants on the river both North as well as South from this strip, but I'll save those for some other time. So back to The Gallery: last night, after having dinner at some other place, we came over here ONLY for an espresso & fried ice cream. Espresso is 40 baht, the fried ice cream 80. Also the setting is just very nice; it's a stylish and tasteful place, perhaps oriented at the somewhat older, more affluent visitor. (Can't believe I said that.. I'm not THAT old.. (Or that affluent, for that matter )

If you don't want to splurge, but still want fried icecream then you could also settle for the 'Som Tam Yok Khrok' restaurants. These apply a fast-food theme to som tam (green papaya salad), something I find very unnerving. However they do also have fried ice cream; completely not in the same league as at The Gallery, but at the price (15-20 baht or so) pretty fair. There's a Som Tam Yok Khrok restaurant on Huay Kaew Road on the left side before you get to Chiang Mai University


Monday, 10-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Kafe Restaurant

Kafe Restaurant
Not a very good pic, anyone want to donate a new camera? :)
Pork chop, grilled spare-ribs and kaeng noh bamboo soup/curry
View all 6 photos...
Here's a place that looks every bit like an American style bar. However besides cheap beer and Western favorites, it also does Thai food really well, and even regional Northern Thai food! They didn't bother to translate all of those on the menu, but it's definitely there, as well as on their little whiteboard with daily specials. So here's a place where you can have a 30 baht beer (happy hour ends at 7pm), a hamburger and fries, AND a very decent Kaeng Noh Northern Bamboo soup/curry on the side. It even has more exotic Northern stuff on the menu that I don't dare mention here for fear of scaring people off, but DO try the sour grilled spare-ribs. (Naem See Khrong Moo, pictured.)

Kafe is a very long running place and used to get a good mix of local Thais as well as Western tourists, but recently the tourists often have the upper hand, depending on the season.

Most dishes are moderately priced, say 60-80 baht for Thai food and 80-120 baht for Western dishes, though a simple Hamburger and fries can be had for 60. Where you'll really save compared to the bigger pub-restaurants on the river is when you're a beer drinker. They have Chang beer on draft that's just cheap by any standard, and VERY cheap before 7pm.

Kafe is on Moon Muang Road, along the moat North of Thapae. It's in between Soi 5 and Ratwithee Road, exactly opposite the huge Rydges hotel.


Tuesday, 4-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Pad Thai

Sawoey Pad Thai Restaurant
Frying Pad Thai on a large flat surface
Pad Thai + raw veggies. Note the banana flower in the middle
View all 6 photos...
Pad Thai could be to Thailand what a hamburger is to America.. Not often a meal all by itself, but a quick and filling light meal, or in between meals. Most places serving Pad Thai are doing a decent job of it; after all, there's not THAT much that can go wrong frying noodles with some tofu, bean sprouts and (dried) shrimp. Many of the 'dedicated' Pad Thai places also serve 'Hoi Thod': fried mussels in batter. This is just a tad too much of a 'carbs & oil' attack for me, so I mostly stick with the Pad Thai.

I’m not overly picky about Pad Thai, but one thing that I really think MUST be included on the side, along with more bean sprouts and some spring onion, is some ‘hua-plee’: the flower of the banana tree.

The place where I took the pictures is called, a tad pretentiously, ‘Sawoey Pad Thai’. It’s on Fa Ham road, the road along the Ping river. When going North on Fa Ham road, it’s some 300 meters before you get to the Superhighway.


Thursday, 29-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Khanom Bueang

Khanom Bueang next to Sanpakhoi Market
The cookies are folded taco/crepe style
Cookie anyone?
View all 7 photos...
Let's do another favorite hawker-food item today: Khanom Bueang. These are taco-shaped 'cookies', or miniature 'crepes' if you like, that have a sweet filling of white cream and other sweet stuff. They're actually pretty difficult to eat without smearing cream all over the place. The crepe-taco-shell starts out as a dough-paste and is put on a hot plate in a circular shape. This then becomes the very thin and crispy shell for the cookie.

You find vendors selling khanom bueang all over the place, mostly near markets or food centers. This particular one has been in this location for a long time so is a reliable place to get them. The stall is in front of 'Daeng Ocha' noodle shop, which has been there pretty much forever and really looks the part too. It's on the road/soi that goes from Charoen Muang road towards Sanpakhoi Market and the Kawila barracks; when coming from Nawarat Bridge, that's the traffic light intersection where Krung Thai bank is on the right.

Khanom Bueang cookies go for 2 baht each. Some vendors may do miniature versions of them that are sold at 1 baht each and are a lot less challenging to eat in terms of smearing white cream all over yourself.


Wednesday, 28-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Road-side Pizza

Pizza Food Stall
Big gas operated oven for baking the pizza's
Small seafood pizza: 40 baht.
Update: This place hasn't opened for the last few evenings. The stall is still there, but it's closed. When it opens again or moves to a different location I will make an update.

Thailand is well known for excellent and very abundant street hawker food; small stalls, often no more than a cart with wheels or a moped with sidecar, they provide an amazing variety of food. Most of it is traditional Thai food and snacks, but always in motion, street-cuisine is.. So here and there you may also find other types of food sold hawker-style: sandwiches, Japanese noodles, and as shown here: pizza & steak! And at great prices too!

First a little rant on pizza in Thailand: There are basically two styles: First 'real pizza', as sold in Italian restaurants, sometimes made by actual Italian chefs. There are quite a few Italian restaurants around Chiang Mai, I hesitate to name any one as being the best, but may get around to this sometime. And then there's the other style: pizza of the Pizza Hut variety. This would be most popular with local Thai people. Note that most of the actual Italian restaurants in town are LESS expensive than Pizza Hut by the way! Today’s review of "Lucky Film Pizza & Stake" is firmly in the Pizza Hut category, but don't dismiss it just yet. My main gripe with Pizza Hut (or Pizza Company for that matter) is not even the food they offer; at, say, 40 baht per pizza it would be perfectly acceptable for a quick lunch or snack. Sadly though, they charge like 200 up to a whopping 400 baht for their pizza's.. Bottle of Pepsi priced 50% higher than at the 7-Eleven next door to go with that? Also, ordering 'delivery' of a pizza from a downtown Bangkok business district outlet, all the way up to the 47th floor of your skyscraper multinational office, costs exactly the same as when picking it up yourself from a tiny little Pizza Hut shop-house in the outskirts of Chiang Mai. This, you'll agree, is insane.

But here and now, ladies and gentlemen, the insanity ends! For there is now pizza that's in every way the same as Pizza Hut, available for just 40 baht for a small pizza, 60 baht for a large one. (Or medium one, in Pizza Hut terminology) Pizza's of the same size all cost the same, no matter if you order the seafood pizza (pictured) or any of the other toppings available. And it gets better: A pizza with ham & pineapple is called 'a pizza with ham and pineapple', not "Super Supreme Tropical Hawaii Delight". It even comes with little bags of ketchup, chilly sauce and oregano, just like at Pizza Hut. So get your pizza's here! (Unless of course, you want a proper Italian restaurant dinner, a nice thin-crust pizza with a choice of Italian cheeses, artichokes, anchovies and olives and all)

The pizza stall is on the Hang Dong road, they used to be in front of the Honda Dealer but now moved a bit further down that road, just before you get to the traffic lights of the Middle Ring road. This is DIRECTLY in the path of landing airplanes at CNX International Airport. So if you're lucky you will get to see the bottom of some really big planes while waiting for your pizza, as they pass overhead about 7 seconds before touchdown.


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