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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Sunday, 4-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Food Centers

Carrefour Food Center
Lots of small outlets to order from
A lot of it is made fresh while you wait
View all 9 photos...
There are quite a few food centers in Chiang Mai, mostly at shopping malls or hypermarkets. The food on offer is pretty much exactly the kinds that you would find at road-side food stalls. However food centers bring lots of these together under one roof, and provide a clean and airconditioned environment. Especially in the hot season, food centers (an shopping malls in general) become very popular places to escape the afternoon heat. Prices are very similar to street food, perhaps priced just 5 baht or so higher per dish. (They get you on the water & drinks )

Do I like food centers? Well............ not really. But that could be because I don't like shopping and shopping malls in general. For sure they're a quick, cool, cheap and convenient place to grab lunch. But they're also busy and noisy, as food centers seem mostly located near areas that produce an incredible noise level, most notably kids playground areas, or worse, video games. As for taste, I think for the most part, 'real' restaurant and long established roadside food stalls have the edge. Some of of the operators of established restaurants or food stalls would actually open a 'branch' and rent an outlet at a food center complex. This is especially the case at the Airport Plaza food center near the Major Cineplex mall. I think the original places are usually better, though.

Still food centers are good because of the variety on offer. They're also easy because you can order from pictures or just by pointing at dishes. Most food centers use some kind of coupon system, where you buy an amount of coupons, say 50 baht's worth, and then pay using these coupons. Any left-over coupons can be exchanged back for real money afterwards. This system lets the food center operators keep track of business for each individual outlet, and it also reduces the opportunities for theft by employees.

Now then.. the best food center in Chiang Mai. For a long time I considered this to be the one at Airport Plaza. However most outlets are definitely a bit more expensive, and generally I think many of them should try harder and improve quantity & quality. So my vote goes to the food center at Carrefour, the big French owned hypermarket chain. Carrefour was renovated and extended last year, and the food center area is now huge. There are many outlets, good variety, low prices between 15-25 baht for most dishes, and always enough space to find a table. They moved from a coupon system to a bar-code card system, pretty much like the BTS Skytrain, where you get a bar-coded card that you can fill or re-fill with any amount of money. Then when paying you just hand over your card, they swipe it through a machine and you get your receipt. When the amount on the card is all used up they keep the card.

Residents of Chiang Mai will of course have no trouble locating Carrefour, for visitors, it's on the Superhighway ring road between the Doi Saket road intersection and the Sankamphaeng road intersection.


Saturday, 3-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Amazing Sandwich

The Amazing Sandwich
There's a small restaurant area, or order takeaway
Made to order very well-stuffed Baguette at 80 baht
View all 5 photos...
"A shady island in a sea of rice" is this little shop/restaurant's slogan. Aside from the sandwiches being amazing (especially by Chiang Mai standards), I'm also amazed the place has been such as success over the years, obviously aiming mostly for the foreign market but not being in a very touristed location. I think this is also the first place I review with its own website at http://www.amazingsandwich.com/ though my pictures here look better if I may say so myself.

Aside from sandwiches and subs they also do breakfasts and general Western snacks and pies. When ordering sandwiches you order from a pre-printed order form piece of paper where you tick off the type of bread, choose one or two kinds from several meats, one or two kinds from several kinds of cheese, and add veggies, herbs and sauces.

They're not stingy with the portions either. The baguette I ordered at 80 baht was actually a bit too much for lunch.. Chiang Mai doesn't have a Subway yet, but I'm willing to bet this place has the edge in taste, price and value!

The Amazing Sandwich is located on Phrapokklao Road, a couple of steps North of the Thai Airways office. If you had the dubious idea of trying to go to Thai airways at lunchtime when all their staff are also having lunch, you can get the queue-number at the Thai Air office and then go eat at Amazing Sandwich and come back with time to spare!


Friday, 2-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Yatai Japanese Ramen Stall

Yatai Ramen shop
Street-side sushi bar area with wooden tables set up
Colorful.. ;-)
View all 7 photos...
There must be hundreds of thousands of noodle stalls in Thailand. Here's one with a twist: it's a regular mostly open-air road-side food stall, however serves Japanese noodles, sushi and rice dishes. The setting is just like a Thai noodles food stall: tables and chairs on the pavement. You can order the noodles by filling in a pre-printed list of dishes, where you just specify how many of each you want to order. There's also a picture menu available for the sushi/sashimi dishes.

Prices are low for the noodle dishes, most go for like 35 baht which is just a tad higher than a Thai 'kuaytiow' noodle stall would charge. The sushi is priced higher, at 55 baht for the ones with more basic ingredients, up to 90 or even 115 for dishes with more expensive fish. (You do get many pieces though..) Individual pieces like the orange shrimp-egg sushi are priced at 15 baht each.

The sushi dishes are definitely getting better all the time. The mixed Sashimi set was excellent, but I thought the seaweed wrappers for some of the wrapped sushi could be more crisp than they were. The noodle dishes remain a very good deal as well.

The place has recently expanded, and also moved from its old location near the intersection with the Canal Road. It moved a bit closer into town and is now in front of the big electronic appliance store, still directly on Huay Kaew road on the left side when driving towards the Canal Road intersection.


Thursday, 1-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Khun Churn Vegetarian Buffet

Very rustic look to the place. :)
Buffet dishes
Could do with a little more variety in dishes..
NOTE: Khun Churn relocated to another soi of Nimmanhaemin Road. The new location looks MUCH MUCH nicer! It's I forgot the soi number, it's one soi up from where Fine Thanks pub is. So that would make it soi 5, possibly 7 or therabouts.

Yet another buffet place today. This one deserves mentioning because it's all vegetarian food, and I think the only such place in Chiang Mai, i.e. vegetarian food in a buffet concept. In every other sense it's less remarkable, and also the price is moderate at 55 baht, all you can eat including drinking water, a herbal drink and sweet desert.

Khun Churn used to have another location at the railway station but this has been closed for some time now, leaving just this one located in Nimmanhaemin Road Soi 11. I remember the buffet at the old place was quite a bit better, but perhaps I was just unlucky today.. Nothing glaringly wrong with it, but there could have been a little more variety I suppose, and with a fresher feel to the whole buffet presentation. It looked a little too much like they spread it out at 11am and then didn't top things up again until lunch time ends. (I was there at 12:15 or so, prime lunch time you'd say.) Still I'll give this place another try one of these days, it's a good option if you want to eat vegetarian (and then lots of it. )



Wednesday, 31-Mar-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Boat Restaurant

Boat Restaurant
Clean & tidy interior, popular with CMU students.
The 'Everything' "Boat Burger".. 28 baht!
View all 6 photos...
Here's an old favorite.. I remember coming her 10 years ago and it seems very little has changed. Boat is an almost American 'student-hangout' style restaurant. Actually many students go there because of the low prices and proximity to Chiang Mai University. There's many Thai standards on the menu, as well as some some favorite international ones, such as Western breakfasts, burgers, milkshakes, etc. Main strength I'd say is the price. It really is a very inexpensive place. Service is less consistent, you may get that one of the dishes you ordered arrives a lot later than the rest, and some waiters could be a little more attentive.. 0) Still I feel the good points far outweigh the bad, the good selection on the menu, having both fair Thai food as well as Western food, clean and tidy Western looking setting and surprisingly low price make this a good place especially for breakfast or lunch.

Western food is definitely not the main focus of my page, however one of these days I should get around recommending some candidates for 'the best hamburger' in Chiang Mai. And while the top-end will be better than this Boat Burger in terms of the bread & meat used and overall size, the inevitable price vs. quality ratio may very well swing Boat's way.. Because you will likely be able to get 4 (!) pretty decent Boat Burgers for the price of ONE burger at whatever 'proper' Western place comes out on top..

Boat Restaurant is on Huay Kaew Road, past the intersection with the Canal Road, before you get to Chiang Mai University. When driving towards CMU it's on the left side of the road.


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