Sunday, 30 September 2012

Khaomao-Khaofang Restaurant

"Imaginary Jungle" at Khaomao-Khaofang
One of my great pleasures is to spend a leisurely Sunday lunch with the family. Today, we head to Khaomao-Khaofang, quite a famous restaurant set in an "imaginary jungle", complete with waterfalls. It's one of those restaurants people like to bring their out of town guests to.

The setting is absolutely lovely. Beautiful large trees, gorgeous tropical garden, waterfalls. It's a man made jungle close to the city. The food is pretty good too - you can choose from a large selection of Thai food, often not seen elsewhere,  and also a nice selection of Thai desserts (and pretty good looking cakes too).

Quite a large variety of appetizers are on offer. We opt for:

"Pla Keun Tod Korb Samun Prai" - Deep fried naked cat fish (don't ask me what that is!) with crispy herbs. It must be one of the specialty dishes as this dish is featured on the cover of the menu. The fish came out looking great, served with chilli sauce, and topped with crispy noodles and various herbs. I find the fish nice and crispy, but quite dry. 190 baht.

"Mieng Gai Krob" - Crispy chicken with herbs wrapped in fragrant leaves. "Mieng" is referred to as bite sized snacks of various chopped up herbs, lime, chilli, ginger, etc wrapped up in Chaplu (Piper sarmentosum) leaves. What we do here is make little cones out of the leaves, then fill the leaves with the chicken / herbs mix. A lot of fun to eat. The sauce is very sweet so it would have been better if it is served separately so we can just add a little bit if we need to. 100 baht.

Other dishes we had: 
"Choo-chee prik pao goong sod" - Deep fried shrimps with roasted chilli paste. This is quite an interesting dish that I never had before. Shrimps stir-fried with crunchy beans, kaffir lime leaves, crispy pork skin and a LOT of "prik pao" chilli paste (as you can see from the photo!). It's a sweetish, spicy kind of dish which I quite enjoyed (mainly because I love "prik pao" anyway!). The beans and crispy pork skin gives a nice crunchy contrast to the prawns. 180 baht. 

"Yum Hed Ruam" - Mixed mushroom spicy salad - quite good. Nice mix of mushrooms and textures, and has all the right flavours. 100 baht

For those who has a sweet tooth, Kaomao-Kaofang has a nice selection of desserts to choose from. We decided to order the Banana fritters with sesame glaze - basically beautifully deep fried bananas served with syrup and sesame. Very nice, and the syrup isn't really needed. Yum! 130 baht. 

In the end, it was a very pleasant lunch. Beautiful, relaxing setting & good food. The service is nice and efficient. The price is slightly highish, but still quite affordable.

Kaomao-Kaofang Restaurant
181 Moo 7, Ratchaphreuk Rd, Nongkwai
Hangdong, Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 838444, 053 441908
Opens daily: 11am-10pm

Khaomao-Khaofang has the most interesting toilet! 

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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Kreung Gaeng Thai Restaurant

Sizzing hot, tasty and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy flesh. Crunchy bony bits, not to mention the salty complexity of the fish sauce. Mmm. There wasn't much left by the time we finished with it! This simple Thai dish is none other than seabass marinated in fish sauce, then deep fried until perfection.  Simple but very nicely done (and not oily at all) by Kreung Gaeng Thai Restaurant. I'm still dreaming about it now! My advice is to eat slowly to enjoy the flavours. 

I drive past Kreung Gaeng Thai Restaurant everyday on the way to work. I've always meant to drop by this bright yellow and cherry looking family runned restaurant / cafe one day but never gotten around to it till now. It's simple, clean and air-conditioned. The menu is extensive. 

Other dishes we tried:

Nam Prik Rong Reur. "Nam Priks" are Thai chilli dips, served with fresh or steamed vegetables. This particular chilli dip is simply fabulous at Him Baan Suan. Kreung Gaeng Restaurant does a different variation - more liquidy, but still pretty good. This chilli dip at Kreung Gaeng is quite salty and is made even saltier when eaten with salted eggs, although this saltiness is toned down with rice and the super fresh vegies. Warning -  The dip does have the shrimp paste and dried shrimps in it, so not everyone will like it.

Gaeng Som - spicy sour soup. This particular one is Gaeng Som Dok Kae Goong Sod. "Dok Kae" is an edible flower, slightly bitter in taste, and "goong sod" is fresh prawn. Generally, gaeng soms are very tangy in taste (from tamarinds), and sugar is used to enhance the flavour as well. I find Kreung Gaeng's spicy sour soup too sweet (or perhaps not sour enough?) - which is a bit of a shame. However, the staff at the restaurant is so nice, I'm sure it's not a big problem to ask them to make it less sweet. The prawns are big, but a bit tasteless (which, unfortunately, is a common thing in Chiang Mai).

Despite the disappointing gaeng som, I think the fantastic deep fried fish more than made up for it. The menu is so large that I'd definitely go back to try other dishes. The price is also quite reasonable - the bill came to about 500 baht for 3 people. I'm having high hopes for this place!

Kreung Gaeng Thai Restaurant
Middle Ring Road (near Samyak Market)
Opens daily 10:00am-10:00pm
Tel: 053 014144

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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Panchalee Vietnamese Restaurant

Panchalee Vietnamese Restaurant
Here's a little break from noodle shops! Let's have Vietnamese at Panchalee - one of my Vietnamese food crazy friend's favourites. I've been here twice already, and I want to keep going back to have some of the same dishes (and try new ones).

Panchalee is a rather unassuming restaurant in a quite lane off trendy (and rather hectic) Nimmanhaemin Road, which is great because I can easily find parking! It's really nice to sit in the outdoor section - in fact, most of the diners opt to sit there, at least when I've been here for dinner. Bring your mosquito repellants though if you don't want to get eaten alive!

My favourites (so far) at Panchalee:

Kuay Jub (Vietnamese Noodle Soup) - 40 baht

Kuay Jub (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
I tried to stay away from noodles for this post, but I can't help it! This Vietnamese Noodle Soup at Panchalee is a dream!  Lovely silky smooth noodles & soup, very slightly thickened, highlighted with a peppery flavour and earthiness of fried onions. It's so good I think I'll be happy just eating this!

Shrimp on Sugarcane (85 baht)

This is a really great dish too. The sugarcane prawns are nice and crispy, the "meat" firm. I also love to chew on the sweet and crunchy sugarcane sticks inside. Very nice with the sauce.

"Pak Mor" - Pork mixed with spring onion in steamed flour - 50 baht
The flour "skin" is amazing. Just the right consistency. Sticky and soft enough to hold everything together, but we are still able to break the "pak mor" easily with our spoon or fork. Tasty and aromatic filling. Topped with "moo yor" - sliced pork loaf. Really good when steaming hot!

These were just some of the dishes that I enjoyed. There are plenty more that I'd love to try.

Their herbal drinks are great too (and importantly - not sweet!).

As you can see I rather enjoyed the restaurant and the food here. Very clean, great (and inexpensive) food. Very friendly staff. They were so nice - we were the last customers sitting around and chatting till about 9pm and none of the staff made us feel like they were in a hurry to go home.

Panchalee Vietnamese Restaurant
Nimmanhaemin Road Soi 15 (end of soi)
Tel: 084 1738372

If you've been to Panchalee, let us know what you think via "comments" link below. What dishes do you like from there?

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