Wednesday 14 January 2009

Jia Tong Heng Chinese Restaurant

A 50 year old institution in Chiang Mai, Jia Tong Heng is a safe choice for Chinese Food. The decor is what you would expect from a local Chinese Restaurant - nothing grand, a bit worn, but clean. The restaurant is huge with a smaller front section that opens out into the street. There is a large air-conditioned room at the back, as well as on the second floor. Private rooms are also available. Jia Tong Heng  is often referred to as the "best Chinese Restaurant in Chiang Mai". 

My first visit to Jia Tong Heng was last year (August 2008). It was Thailand's Mother's Day and the restaurant was full to the rim and extremely chaotic. We were very hungry, and already annoyed by the slowness of the service and felt that the food wasn't all that great. I think this is probably to be expected, going at such a busy time. 

Since then, we decided Jia Tong Heng deserved another visit. This time, we were able to appreciate the food a bit more. 

We ordered some of the restaurant's recommended dishes: 

We had horse radish cakes wrapped with tofu skin then deep-fried, served with a special sauce. It was very nice. (above photo)

Other dishes we had were Jew's Ear Mushroom fried with egg (I hope no one takes offense with the name, but it is the name of the mushroom) - it was also quite nice, but a bit oily. 

The boiled-fish with taro was interesting, and I quite enjoyed it. I find the flavours of the dishes at Jia Tong Heng quite subtle, and the soup was no exception. I'm not sure those not used to eating a lot of fish would appreciate it though. Incidentally, the restaurant is quite famous for its fish dishes (fresh from the tank downstairs), so if you do enjoy eating fish, you'd be really happy coming here!

Finally for the last dish, we had to try out their Prawns with Vermicelli in Hot Pot. This is our family's favourite dish, and so far, no where that we have tried makes it better than our mum. The Prawns with Vermicelli at Jia Tong Heng's, I must say, still didn't match mum's, but it was fairly good and I quite enjoyed it. 

So, in conclusion, I'd say Jia Tong Heng does some quality Chinese meals, and with it's extensive menu, and reasonable prices (our bill came to 480 baht for 4 people), it's somewhere that one could definitely return time and time again. 

Is it the best Chinese Restaurant in Chiang Mai? I can't really say, because I myself really enjoy going to China Palace at the Holiday Inn Hotel (excellent Dim Sum/Yum Cha), and the Fujian Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental (excellent Chinese food overall) - but of course, the price is also a lot higher! 

Here's an enthusiastic review of Jia Tong Heng from a Singaporean who came to Chiang Mai in August last year on a holiday- Janet Ong. She particularly recommends the Suckling Pig. Remember, if you want to order the suckling pig, to ring up the restaurant the day before to place an order, so you won't have to wait too long when you go. 

Have you been to Jia Tong Heng? What's your opinion and what dishes would you recommend?

193/2-3 Sridonchai Rd, Muang, Chiang Mai. 
Tel: 053 275 242

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