Friday, 21 January 2011

Mon Cham

Mon Cham isn't really the name of the restaurant. Actually, I don't know what the name of the restaurant is. Mon Cham the the name of a place and is a part of the Nong Hoi Royal Project. It's located at the peak of the mountain above Mae Sa Valley. People go there to camp, take a stroll in the lovely garden, pick strawberries, and eat at the bamboo restaurant while drinking in the vista of the mountains and valleys below.

Mon Cham, Chiang Mai

You can eat in the open air restaurant:

Mon Cham, Chiang Mai

Or sit in one of these huts:

Mon Cham, Chiang Mai

...and enjoy the view...and your meal:

The restaurant serves simple but tasty dishes. Great value too - the dishes start from 60 baht.

The deep fried chicken wings are great - simple but perfectly seasoned - just eat it as it is. No sauce required.

The herbed omelet is lovely too, served with chilli sauce. The omelet itself has a nice subtle flavour. If you feel you need sauce, just put a little so as not to overwhelm the dish.

The tom yum is also very tasty, but has too much oil for my liking.

Probably the most interesting dish is the Tempura style deep fried egg plants topped with stir-fried vegies, mushroom, pork, basil and chilli. A kind of "pad krapraw" topping to the eggplants. The eggplants are not oily at all - we think that they must have been grilled before being battered and deep-fried. This is my favourite dish. The mini mushrooms and vegies are super fresh and tasty, although the diced carrots and peas are probably the frozen variety - understandable, I guess since we are in "winter" in Thailand, and it's pretty cold on top of the mountain!

Mon Cham, Chiang Mai

May be it's a combination of the yummy food and cold weather, we ended up re-ordering most of the dishes.

I'd highly recommend you visit Mon Cham if you get a chance. It's a really lovely place with great views and great food!

Tel: 081 806 3993

Directions: Mon Cham is about 50-60min drive from Chiang Mai city. Head towards Mae Rim, and turn left at Mae Sa Valley Road (the one with Tiger Kingdom, Mae Sa Elephant Camp, etc). Keep driving till you reach Pong Yaeng Ang Doi resturant (on the left), keep driving for another kilometer till you reach the sign (on your right) for Nong Hoi Royal Project. Keep driving up the steep windy road for about 9km. You'll go through a small village, and Mon Cham is right on top of the mountain. There are plenty of signs so don't worry about getting lost.

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Thursday, 20 January 2011

My Vietnamese Restaurant, Meechok Plaza

Lucky me having an office at Meechok Plaza, Chiang Mai. There are now all these great restaurants, I probably won't have to go anywhere else! Here's the latest addition - My Vietnamese Restaurant. This is the second Vietnamese restaurant at Meechok Plaza, and the third one in the area.

My Vietnamese Restaurant is the most "professional" of the three. Pho Saigon (the first Vietnamese Restaurant at Meechok Plaza) is great, and is more family runned, the food is also homemade style, so is Hanoi Nam Neung Restaurant. My Vietnamese actually has a manager running the place, and since opening last week, she has been going around and checking with customers to make sure the food is OK....Oh, I know because I've been there 3 times already!

Here are some of the dishes we tried last time we went:

Nam Neung - you cut up the "sausages" and wrap it in the rice paper together with the vegies and a dallop of the sauce to make little spring rolls. It's one of those great hands-on communal dishes. Delicious! 80 baht.

"Nam Neung"

Sa Bud Nga - Crispy flour sheet filled with minced pork and various other ingredients. I haven't had anything like this before, and it was surprisingly lovely. The "crispy flour sheet" is nice and delicate, and filled with soft wide noodles and tasty stir-fried minced pork. 70 baht.

"Sa Bud Nga"

Vietnamese Spring Rolls - These are great too. I've never seen spring roll skin like this before. It kind of puff up when fried, and very crunchy. 60 baht.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Crispy Pancake - another nice dish. The pancake is light and crispy. The filling is not overly tasty, but sometimes it's nice to have some dishes more delicately flavoured. 60 baht.

Vietnamese Crispy Pancake

The Verdict:
A very good restaurant with very nice food. I have no idea how authentic the food is, but we certainly enjoy most of the dishes we tried. They also serve a big bowl of fresh vegies and herbs (as do the other Vietnamese Restaurants in Chiang Mai). Really good value. The servings were are quite large, and the bill only comes 290 baht for 4 of us.

Now I can't wait for the new Japanese Noodle Shop to open!

The Rating:
Ambience: 6.5/10
Food: 7.5/10
Price: 8/10

My Vietnamese Restaurant

Branch 1: Opposite Chiang Mai University (Huay Kaew Road)
Branch 2: Meechok Plaza (corner of First Ring Road & Mae Jo Road)
Branch 3: Behind Carrefour Super Highway (this one is a franchise)

Contact details - coming up!

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Sunday, 9 January 2011

"Khao Tom 1 baht"

After over indulging over the past few weeks over the Christmas and New Year period, Khao Tom (aka rice porridge) is the perfect anti-dote. Khao Tom is very light, it's a good choice to give our stomachs a break! It's very easy, of course, to make at home, but feeling lazy, we headed for "Khao Tom One Baht" restaurant near the office. "Khao Tom One Baht"? Yes, each bowl of these plain rice porridge soups costs only 1 baht!

The catch of course, was the dishes that we can order with the Khao Tom. These range from 60 baht for the simple stir-fried veggies to 120 baht or so for fish dishes. Not the cheapest, considering the small portions - but this allows us to try a variety of dishes, and eat "light" for those who wish to. Steamed rice is also available if you feel the rice porridge won't be filling enough.

The food is tasty, and there are a few interesting dishes such as Thousand year eggs stir-fried with basil leaves, a variation of the "Pad Krapraw". I had this before at a restaurant in Chiang Rai, and it was superb. At the restaurant, though, the thousand year eggs are OK, may be a little too soggy, and nothing to write home about.

These "Khao Tom" restaurants are usually open for dinner till late. This particular one is open till 4am!

The total price for 6 of us worked out to be about 410 baht. We had a lot of cheaper vegie dishes though.

You'll be able to find "Khao Tom 1 baht" restaurants almost everywhere in Chiang Mai. Check it out if you'd like to try something a bit different!

Here's an approximate location!

View Chiang Mai Eating Guide in a larger map

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