Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Hanoi Namneung Vietnamese Food

For the last couple of weeks, a large banner with a picture of Vietnamese Namneung and been seducing us to eat at this newly opened road side restaurant. The restaurant is simple, but quite attractive and clean looking.

It seemed though that the family running the place is quite new at running a restaurant, and there are a few teething problems - like some dishes on the rather simple menu were "not available yet", and no mosquito repellent. The waiter told us there are no mosquitos here! LOL..for the record, there were HUGE mosquitos. I guess they'll provide repellants soon enough if a lot of customers asked for them.

Hanoi Namneung's specialty is .... Namneung - a kind of Vietnamese pork ball rolled into sausage shape, served with fresh vegies, herbs, and rice paper. It's a fun dish to eat - the namneungs are sliced into small circular discs, and then we roll up our own "fresh spring rolls" with the softened rice paper wraps. Hanoi Namneung's Namneung is quite tasty. The sauce was a little too sweet, but still quite yummy and peanuty. 85 bath for the small serving (3 "sausages").

The fresh spring rolls were lovely - lots of fresh vegies, herbs and tofu. The sauce was way too sweet, so don't put too much! 40 baht.

Sugarcane prawns - these were quite nicely done. The "meat" was nice and firm, a little chewy, but still tender at the same time - just the way I like it. (Some other restaurants make it too soft for my taste). Same sauce as the sugarcane prawns. In fact, the same sauce is used in all the dishes except for the namneung. 70 baht.

The Herbed Pork Leg Stew was quite good too - a variation from the typical thai pork leg dishes. Served with rice - pretty good value at only 40 baht.

The Spring rolls (deep-fried) was not so great though. It was served cold and the spring rolls skin soft. 45 baht.

The Verdict
Not a bad restaurant. Simple with quite good food. Not much variety. Hopefully we'll get more to choose from as the family settles into their business. Good value - only 290 baht for 3 of us!

The Rating
ABoldmbience: 6/10
Food: 6/10
Price: 7/10

Hanoi Namneung
Middle (1st) Ring Road
(Between Doi Saket Road & Mae Jo Road, close to Meechok Plaza)

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Sunday, 19 December 2010

See Fah Kao Mun Gai (Chicken Rice shop)

Kao Mun Gai shop

Chicken Rice ("Kao Mun Gai") is another one of those popular dishes in Thailand. You can find it almost anywhere, and there are many shops that specialises in Kao Mun Gai.

Kao Mun Gai shop

Chicken Rice is a very simple dish composing of boiled chicken, plain rice cooked in chicken broth, and served with a soy bean sauce (generally a combination of soy bean paste, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, etc). Although its seems like a simple dish and rather plain in flavour compared to other Thai dishes, Kao Mun Gai is full of wonderful subtle flavours, and very delicious...and especially good for those who can't eat spicy food (just don't put too much sauce)!

Most of the eateries / street stalls in Thailand will also serve cooked chicken blood with the dish, but that's not really my cup of tea, so I usually ask for no blood (as well as no fat on the chicken!).

Kao Mun Gai

I usually have my Kao Mun Gai at See Fah at Meechok Plaza, Chiang Mai, since it's near my office and it's very clean. See Fah's rice is especially great, and served steaming and fragrant. Their sauce is very tasty, and you can add fresh ginger and chilli to your liking!

"Kao Mun Gai"

The price is good too! 25 baht for "regular" size, and 30 baht for "piset" or "special" (which means a bigger portion).

Kao Mun Gai restaurants can be found pretty much everywhere and also in food courts.

See Fah Kao Mun Gai
Meechok Plaza (near Rimping Supermarket)
Opens early in the morning till around 3-4 pm.

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Monday, 13 December 2010

Vieng Joom On Teahouse (aka "Pink Teahouse")

Vieng Joom On (aka Pink Tea house), Chiang mai

Vieng Joom On is one of my favourite places to bring visitors when they come to Chiang Mai. Literally, Vieng Joom On means "pink city" ...and yes, it's a pink themed tea house / tea shop. Guys, don't worry, other than the bright pink main building, the rest of the tea house isn't totally pink! There is also a beautiful garden terrace out the back where customers can relax, sip tea, have snacks and chat with friends.

There is a huge selection of tea to choose from - various Chinese teas, masala, chai, rooibos, fruit teas, as well as Vieng Joom On's own blends. They also serve various snacks, sandwiches and desserts such as Cherry Panna Cotta, scones and High-tea set.

Vieng Joom On (aka Pink Tea house), Chiang mai

If you happen to like any of the teas offered and want to take some home, you'll be able to buy them from the gorgeously decorated tea shop. Warning - it's not cheap - but the packaging is so beautiful and the tea very high quality.

Vieng Joom On (aka Pink Tea house), Chiang mai

Highly recommended for tea lovers.

Vieng Joom On Teahouse

53 Charoenraj Rd

T. Watgate A. Muang Chiang Mai 5000

Opens daily 10:00am-7:00pm

Tel: 053 303 113

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Saturday, 4 December 2010

Ginger & Kafe

"East-West eclectic funky - fun casual chill-out bristo" is how Ginger & Kafe describes itself on its website. I guess that's not too far from the truth. Ginger & Kafe is funky and definitely a great place to chill out and lounge on the colourful sofas. For the more fashionable diners, there is a lovely (and a little pricey) boutique selling clothes and accessories at the back of the cafe.

The food is great too. Ginger and Kafe serves both Thai and Western Food and offers a wide variety of choices. The Thai food is great, the Western food is OK (but not terribly great!). If you go, I'd highly recommend Thai food.

The service was pretty good. The staff can speak English quite well, and quite accommodating. A fellow diner is gluten intolerant and we simply told the waitress that she is allergic to oyster sauce and soy sauce (both contain small amount of wheat) and request that the dishes we ordered shouldn't have any of these ingredients. She promptly checks with the kitchen and comes back informing that we shouldn't order any Thai food as all the Thai dishes contain soy sauce or oyster sauce! The dishes won't be tasty without these ingredients! However, after we tell her it's fine to use fish sauce or salt, the kitchen still produced very good dishes.

The drinks menu was quite interesting and filled with names like Pep Up and Wow Crazy. I had Pep Up - a very refreshing lime juice based drink. Definitely pepped me up! 140 baht.

The Thai food is great, as mentioned earlier - tasty and high quality (even without soy sauce and oyster sauce!). The Pad Thai - although a typical Thai street food dish, is excellent, well, at least the way I like it - tasty, moist but not soggy. The flavours are perfectly balanced. 110 baht.

The Pomelo Salad is also great, minus the crispy pork which is left out because it's marinated in soy sauce. 120 baht.

Stir-fried Pork and Mushroom with Roasted Chilli Paste. This actually came stir-fried with red curry paste. I guess the roasted chilli paste must have soy sauce or oyster sauce. Anyway, it was very nice as well. 140 baht.

The total bill came to 913 baht (including the 10% service charge added). Pricier than regular Thai restaurants, but it's worth it considering the lovely ambience, the location (in the old town with lots of parking), and the quality of the food.

The Verdict:
Beautiful cafe to relax and hang out with friends and bring guests. Lovely ambience, good Thai food, OK Western food. Good parking. A little pricy, but worth it.

The Rating:
Ambience: 7/10
Food: 7/10 (Thai); 5/10 (Western)
Price: 6/10

Ginger & Kafe
199 Moonmuang Road
T. Sriphum, A. Muang
Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 419011
Opens daily: 10am to midnight. Last orders 10:30pm

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