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, 27-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Kha Moo -- Pork meat & rice..

Chang Phuak Kha Moo stall
Order takeaway or eat at the food market tables
Pork meat over rice.. fast & simple
View all 7 photos...
Here's a dish I never was very fond of but came to appreciate recently: Kha Moo, literally 'pork leg'. The meat is stewed with Chinese spices, then served over rice with some sour vegetables (shades of a German pork knuckle & sauerkraut come to mind), sometimes with a boiled egg and some sour-spicy sauce on the side.

This dish is mostly sold by small food stalls and you can find it all over the country. In Chiang Mai I think this particular food stall, located at the Chang Phuak evening food market is a very good bet. It's been very long running, and rather popular, so other stalls selling the same dish have sprung up around it. At the Chang Phuak food market there are at least 2 others selling only this dish!

Another reason why I started visiting Kha Moo shops more often is... my dog. Popular pork leg shops are invariably left with a huge pile of pork bones to discard.. and you guessed it, a couple of those, that I you can get for free, make my dog a very happy camper indeed.

Chang Phuak food market operates only in the evening, just North of Chang Phuak gate, the Northern city gate in Chiang Mai. Food is mostly very inexpensive, this Kha Moo dish goes for 20 baht standard, or 25 baht with egg. Or you can order a bigger serving of the pork meat, without rice, for 30 baht.


Monday, 26-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Siam Celadon Tea House / Old Architecture

Siam Celadon Tea House
Very stylish architecture. Note the open middle section
Club sandwich and iced honey green tea
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We have to admit it, Thailand can be a bit of a cultural Sahara when it comes to architecture, not including temple architecture of course. Over the centuries most common homes have mostly been constructed of wood, which means the really old ones mostly aren't around anymore, or were knocked down to make space for the typical concrete shoebox design that's not all that pleasing to the eye.

If you look long and hard though then you can find some nice older buildings in Chiang Mai and other Thai cities. Many you won't notice at first glance because they may be run down a bit or have a huge billboard in front.. But recently many of the old houses are being restored and turned into boutique restaurants or shops. Or both, in case of Siam Celadon Tea House.

The front room of this very nicely renovated house is a shop selling celadon ceramics, the back side is a tea house that now also sells some food items such as cakes, salads and sandwiches. There's a small but nice garden in the back, too. Obviously a lot of money and effort has been spent here, giving the place a truly 5 star look, and that in an actual old authentic building too. I've never seen it very busy with customers though, and preparing the club sandwich I ordered did take a looonngg time; this with only two customers there, one of them being myself.

But then again this is not a place where you should go when in a hurry.. It really reminds you of a more leisurely time, you can sit around the garden area, have a cup of tea while reading the newspaper or soaking up the atmosphere.. it's that kind of place.

The food or drinks aren't even the main attraction I'd say, I ordered an iced green tea & honey drink and a club sandwich. Sandwiches go for 45-65 baht or so, hot and cold drinks, mostly teas, for 30-45. I spent exactly 100 baht on the sandwich and drink. So moderate prices, but given the 5 star surroundings I'd perhaps rate it as a pretty awesome bargain.. when you're not in a hurry.

Siam Celadon Tea House is on Thapae Road, one of the busiest in town, just before you get to the Mae Kha Canal and that weird road towards the Big Market where traffic is on the right hand side.. When walking from Thapae Gate towards the river, it would of course be on the left and side, just after the canal.


Friday, 23-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Eat Me!

What's in a name.. Eat Me! Restaurant
Small aircon area gets crowded for lunch
Nice Caesar Salad, iced green tea shake and Thai noodle dish
View all 6 photos...
Back from the Songkran party & holiday, picking up where I left off.. It's still very much the hot season in Chiang Mai, so good idea to do another airconditioned place today. Called Eat Me!

Eat Me is a bright, young and cute place that combines cake & bakery with regular Thai and some Western food. It has an inside airconditioned area as well as some tables outside. As this is the hot season, most people opted to go inside.. Prices are still quite low, higher than food-stall or small shop level but still well below 'big restaurant' prices. Figure 30-60 baht for most dishes. Attempted Western food even, the Ceasar Salad which actually was far better than I expected. This keeping in mind that my expectations for Western food in pretty much Thai-only cheaper locations aren't necessarily that high, but a good serving of a nice crisp lettuce, bacon flakes, croutons and actual grated parmesan cheese and right amount of ceasar dressing is well better than par for this course. Actually finding any cheese at all in Thai restaurants that's not the pasty Kraft plastic-wrapped stuff is already worth mentioning. (Hell, finding a salad dressing that's not a sweetish yellow cream is worth mentioning! )

Eat Me! is on Nimmanhaemin Road, a road that really came alive the past 2-3 years with lots of pubs and interesting little restaurants that mostly seem to be run by younger enthusiastic operators. Eat Me! is on the left side when going towards Suthep Road, before you get to the traffic lights of the road that branches off to Chiang Mai University.


Sunday, 11-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Southern Thai Food / Lung Jit

Lung Jit Restaurant
Just order by pointing at stuff
Proper Southern fare, with LOTS of raw vegetables for cooling..
View all 6 photos...
Probably one of the best restaurants serving Southern Thai food is Phuket Laikhram, see this review. It's however a bit more of the Chinese style southern food like you'd actually find in Phuket town, and not the hard-core seriously spicy curry stuff. I think that type of food deserves mention of its own. I'm not entirely sure this place here is one of the best in Chiang Mai, but it is authentic, has good variety and is definitely very very spicy, as in: spicy by Thai food standards..

I've tried a few Southern Thai places the past few weeks, and they all seem to have one thing in common: operators try to warn a Western looking visitor about the spicy food, suggest non spicy dishes or even try to discourage him ordering some of the spicier stuff! 0) So bring some level of determination if you want to sample the spiciest of foods..

I'm still looking for 'The Ultimate Southern Thai' food in Chiang Mai, do comment if you know of a place, but for now this one will do. It's called 'Lung Jit' and is on Arak Road, this is the road along the city moat, on the inside, 100-200 meters after passing Hua Rin Corner and just before you get to the first U-turn that would lead you to Ram Hospital.


Saturday, 10-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Wichianburi Grilled Chicken

Kai Yaang Wichianburi
Grilling full size chickens
Nice with som tam green papaya salad
View all 6 photos...
Yesss..! I found the Wichianburi Grilled Chicken place back. Wichianburi is a district in Phetchaboon province that is apparently quite famous for its grilled chicken. See this site in Thai. The only location for Wichianburi grilled chicken used to be a shop located on Sirimangalajarn Road (the road you take to reach the back entrance to Central Kad Suan Kaew Mall) that shop dissappeared for a while but has now re-opened just 30 meters from its old location, into a little soi next to the Green <something> Hotel.

Anyway, Wichianburi grilled chicken is the right stuff! Feel free to comment if you know of other locations, but places that grill chicken pretty much 'wholesale' aren't as common in Chiang Mai as you might expect. I think it's more of a North Eastern thing to find the combination of Som Tam and serious numbers of grilled chicken.

The place does look like it was set up in a hurry though, it's not really a proper restaurant (yet), but honestly, looking at the quality of the chicken and the popularity today, one would hope and expect that they can grow their business here. Inevitably when there's a restaurant that has an actual roof and all, prices will go up a little. Looking at the blue sheet they use for a roof right now I wonder what would happen in the rainy season..

As it is, prices are low, low low. It's not that often that I suspect they charged me too little by mistake, but today it happened: A decent serving of som tam green papaya salad, half of a good sized grilled chicken, bottled water & ice came to the grand total of 50 baht. Assuming Som tam was 15-20 baht and water and ice 5 baht, that would mean 50 or 60 baht for a whole grilled chicken?! Wow.

There are drawbacks as well of course.. A less sandy location a tiny bit away from traffic would be nice.. And again, we'll see what happens in the rainy season. For now though, get yer fresh grilled chickens here. It's on Rakang road, at least I think this stretch of road is still called that. Easiest to get there: When driving on Chang Klan road (night bazar road) going south, then keep going south at the intersection with Sri Donchai Rd (Old Saeng Tawan cinema). Then at the next traffic lights turn right and you will find this place on the left side of the road.

(Hey, I finished this entire entry without taking a jab at KFC... but seriously, you've GOT to be nuts to go eat fried chicken there when grilled chicken is so much tastier and cheaper..


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