Friday 30 January 2009

Pongyaeng Ang Doi Resort & Restaurant

This is another wonderful restaurant for great Thai & Northern Thai food. Dine on a deck overlooking the jungle and waterfall. The restaurant is in the Pongyang Ang Doi Resort, on the Mae Rim- Samoeng Road, close to attractions such as the Mae Sa Elephant Park and Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens (approx 30mins from the city). If you go at lunch time, you'll be able to take a stroll and look around the lovely resort and walk to the waterfall. 

Dishes to try:

Naem (Northern pickled pork)  stir fried with eggs and preserved garlic - very nice! 

Gaeng Hung Lay - Chiang Mai Northern Curry (also known as Burmese style Pork Curry). A rich pork curry with lots of spices like galangal, ginger, shallots, lemongrass and garlic. It is slightly sweet and spicy at the same time. 

Moo Daed Diew - Deep fried sun-dried pork. I think Pongyang Ang Doi makes some of the best "Moo Daed Diew" that I have tried in Chiang Mai. The pork in other restaurants are often tough, but here, the pork is not only tasty, but nice and tender. Him Restaurant also does this dish quite nicely. 

Other dishes to try:
  • Pork spare-ribs tom yum with young tamarind leaves - really, really nice!
  • Choo-Chee Pla - deep fried fish served with Choo-Chee (a type of curry) sauce.
This is one of the places that we always bring family and friends when they visit Chiang Mai, and I would highly recommend it! 

The only thing I don't like about the restaurant is that there are lots of flies in the area during the day in summer - there are "contraptions" to trap flies, but it's not too appetising near your table! If you think this will be a problem for you, I'd recommend you go there for dinner instead. They also have a nice wine collection. 

Price: Last time we went, it was about 950 baht for 5 people (no alcohol), and we were all very full. 

49/3 Moo 2 Km. 14 Mae Rim-Samoeng Road, Tambon Pong Yaeng, Amphoe Mae Rim, Chiang Mai
Tel: 05387 9151-2

Approximate location: 

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Thursday 22 January 2009

Rajwong Shark-Fin Soup Chinese Restaurants

I am a happy woman. Not that I'm into eating Shark-fin soup - I feel too sorry for the sharks...but I have finally found a place that makes excellent "Koong ob woon sen"  (Prawns baked with vermicelli in hot pot).

Without further ado, here it is: 

It was done in "Taechew" style - with garlic, ginger, coriander root, oyster sauce, whole peppercorns,  bacon and of course, large prawns, baked in a hot pot - just like the way mum does it! The first thing I noticed when eating was the fragrance, and the vermicelli noodles were nice and tasty. Delicious & great value at 300 baht. It might seem a bit pricey (compared to other restaurants), but the serving is quite large and you also get 5-6 large prawns. 

For our vegetable dish, we had Stir-fried Bitter melon shoots - also very nice - crispy and tasty. The serving was also quite large. 100 baht. 

And the last dish, Chicken Lad Na (Chicken Hor-fan, or wide rice noodles with thick gravy). 300 baht. Also very nicely done. The gravy had just the right thickness (ie. not too watery) and tastes great!

The whole bill came to 760 baht (the 60 baht being for tea) for three people & we were really full and happy. : ) 

412/4-5-6 Anekpasong Soi 6
Chiang Mai Land Village
Changklan Rd, A. Muang, Chiang Mai
Ph: 053 204763
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Sunday 18 January 2009

Him Restaurant

This Thai-Chinese Restaurant is our "second kitchen" - basically because we often go there because the food is great & it's very close to our house! This is an open-air restaurant in front of a Moo Ban (village) and right next to a nice pond. Service good & friendly. The furnishings are quite simple, but the ambience is nice and relaxing. Air-conditioned rooms are available.

Let's get right into the food that we ordered last time we were there. 

Pla Chon Gaeng Som (Deep-fried Serpent-head Fish in Thai Sour Curry)

This is a delicious dish & Him makes it so well, and full of flavour and not to sweet. The whole serpent head was deep fried and covered the Gaeng Som.  I prefer Gaeng Som to Tom Yum because of Gaeng Som's more intense sour and sweetness and explosive flavours. Tamarind gives the soup the sourness and palm sugar, the sweet taste. For those not used to the spiciness, I'd advise you to take it easy. Although my taste-buds are savouring the flavours, my stomach often can't take it and I often get a bit of a stomach upset afterwards...but it's worth it!

Curry Crab

It's a little hard to find nice crab dishes, but Him does this dish quite well. The soft-shelled crabs were stir-fried with onions, shallots, eggs and curry powder. The texture was also just right - not too dry or too soggy. 

We also had Stir-fried snow-pea shoots in oyster sauce - nicely done and veggies nice and crispy. We also had Deep-fried Pork & Prawn dumplings served with Plum Sauce (Hoi Jor) - quite good too.

Other dishes to try at Him:
  • Steamed fish in soy sauce (very nice with wide, flat rice noodles) 
  • Nam Prik Rong Reur (Chilli Dip with vegies) 
Him restaurant is on the Third Ring Road between Doi Saket Road and San Kamphaeng Rd. If you're on San Kamphaeng Rd shopping, you'll be able to visit this restaurant quite easily. 

See map for exact location. 
Him Restaurant Website
Phone: 053 293 068

Approximate price: We spent 540 baht for 4 people (no alcohol).  

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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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Thursday 8 January 2009

Mitmai Yunnanese Restaurant

Pork leg stew and mantou

Mitmai Yunnanese Restaurant is quite an institution in the centre of town. Opened 30 years ago, the restaurant has been featured in quite a few publications, including the Lonely Planet. The food is certainly quite good there, and is worth going if you feel like some Chinese food, or have a break from Thai food!

Don't expect that your dishes will be rushed out quickly though, because we had to wait a little. When we were there was only one waitress serving 3 tables.

The waitress recommended Ka Moo with mantou (Pork stew in five spice and chinese steamed buns) - The pork leg was good, and not too much fat, but what made it special was dipping the mantou in the sauce. We had both the steamed mantou and the deep-fried version, and decided that both were good. The steamed mantou was smooth in texture - not the best I had, but certainly right up there. The deep-fried mantou was great, and very nice when dipped in the sauce.

We also had Deep-fried Chinese Mushrooms (very nice and tasty), Stir-fried Chayote shoot (also very nicely done) and a dish called Tom Som Yod Ma Praw (Coconut shoot with prawns in spicy and sour soup). The soup was quite different, and perhaps needs a bit of getting used to. I noticed later that the soup is also listed a "to try" item in the Lonely Planet. I, however, would recommend it only if you feel a bit adventurous and want to try something a bit different. Don't get me wrong, the soup wasn't bad, and I can probably get to like it - it just had an interesting flavour!

The total bill came to a reasonable 550 baht for 5 people (no alcohol).

If you've been to Mitmai, please let us know what you think via the comment section below. What dishes would you recommend?

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42/2 Ratchanmakha Rd, Muang, Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 206253

Friday 2 January 2009

Khao Soy - yummy Chiang Mai Curry Noodles

Khao soi from Khao Soi Lamduon

Khao Soy is one of those famous Chiang Mai dishes that you must try when visiting Chiang Mai. It's as an egg-noodle dish served with chicken, pork or beef, in rich curry broth and topped with crispy noodles. Very delicious!

This blog gives a mouthwatering description and detailed information about Khao Soy & some great photos!

Kao Soy restaurants are everywhere in Chiang Mai, and the dish is served in many restaurants.

Here are some specialty places you might want to check out:

Khao Soy Lamduon

This is undoubtedly my personal favourite Khao soy restaurant. The curry broth is rich and full of flavour - so delicious! 30 baht/dish.

Faharm Road, Chiang Mai.

You'll also be able to enjoy their Khao Soy at Central Airport Plaza's food court.

Khao Soy Samoer Jai

Another local favourite, just down the road from Khao Soy Lamduon. Also very good and delicious Khao Soy. 30 baht/dish.

Faharm Road, Chiang Mai

Just Khao Soy

This is a very nice restaurant. The food is of a very high quality, and makes Khao Soy more accessible to the Western palate who may not be able to handle the richness and spiciness of the typical local Khao Soy. There are two types of broths to choose from, and you are given condiments that you can add to suit your taste. Each dish is around 100 baht, but still great value considering the serving is more than twice of what you'd get with "local" Khao Soy dishes. You'll also be getting air-conditioning and nice service! See our review.

108 Charoen phratet Road, Chang Klan, Chiang Mai, Thailand

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8 Recommended Thai Restaurants to try in Chiang Mai

There are so many wonderful restaurants in Chiang Mai. Here are my personal suggestions of places try during your vacation in Chiang Mai. It's not in any particular order - just what comes first to mind. By the way, I don't get paid by the restaurants, just writing about places I enjoy going to. Hope you will enjoy them too!

If you have suggestions or recommendations yourself, or any comments on the restaurants on the list, please make a comment!

Please contact us for a cultural/gourmet tour of Chiang Mai!

Saenkham Terrace

Mushroom som-tam salad

Fantastic Thai & Northern Thai food. The restaurant is nicely decorated in Lanna style and overlooks Doi Suthep Mountain. Fine dining experience in warm and friendly atmosphere. Some dishes to try: Deep-fried shiitake mushroom (really, really nice!), Pad Thai, Mee Grob (Thai crispy noodles), Green Curry - order some roti with it.

Price range: 100-200 baht per dish

Location: Nai Fan Village Club House (Canal Road - towards the south). Tel: 053 838 990

There's another branch at Hillside 2, 183 Nimmanhaemin Rd, Chiang Mai

Ruan Pae II

Fish cake

This Thai restaurant is next to a lake on the 2nd Ring Road. Decor quite simple and you'll be sitting in plastic chairs. Lovely lake views and relaxing atmosphere though, and very nice food. Try: my favourite - Gaeng Som Pla Chon (deep fried serpent head fish in spicy & sour soup), Nam Tod (deep fried pickled pork), Tod man pla (Thai fish cakes).

Price: 50-100 baht per dish

Location: 2nd Ring Road between Ruam Chok Plaza and Mae Rim intersection. Tel: 053 115 194

There's another branch (Ruan Pae I) near San Kamphaeng Rd, so this would be an ideal stop for lunch if you're over that way shopping.

Satesinlp Restaurant (lunch)

Yummy satays

This is one of my favourite lunch time restaurant. Satesinlp (pronouned Satesin) is an open air garden restaurant. Air-conditioned rooms also available. The menu offers standard Thai lunch time dishes - various noodle and rice dishes - pad thai, various fried rices, etc, as well as yummy appetisers. Meals are simple but high quality and delicious! They've recently extended their menu - more of a reason to keep going back! If you're worried about hygiene, don't. It's super clean.

Price: most dishes are about 45 baht, but can be up to 100 baht.

Location: San Kamphaeng Rd - another ideal place to go when you're out that way shopping.

Pongyang Ang Doi

Gaeng Hung Lay - Burmese style pork curry

This is the place to go if you're in the Mae Sa area. The restaurant is in the Pongyang Ang Doi resort. It's an open air restaurant overlooking a waterfall. Wonderful atmosphere! The food is great too. My favourite is the Deep fried sun-dried pork strips - a Northern Thailand dish. They make it so well the pork is lovely and tender. Gaeng Hung Lay (Burmese Pork Curry) is also very nice here - tastes very different to the other restaurants.

You'll be able to go down to explore the waterfall as well.

Price: dishes are around 100 baht up.

Location: Mae Rim. Tel: 053 879 151


Crispy Morning Glory Salad

This is fast becoming one of my favourite restaurants. Extensive menu with modern Thai cuisine as well as traditional dishes. Great food and great atmosphere (and great price!). See our review.

Price: most are around 60-85 baht

Location: 2nd floor, Nim City Daily (near Airport Plaza) Tel: 053 201 788

Hong Taew Inn

Naem Tod, Hong Taew Restaurant, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Nice Northern Thai restaurant with nostalgic 20s setting on trendy Nimanhaemin Road. Great place for dinner or lunch. Try the Pomello Salad, Fried naem (deep fried pickled pork).

Price: around 80-100 baht per dish

Location: Nimanhaemin Road opposite Nimanhaemin Soi 1. Tel: 053 218 333

Lemon Tree

Nice and bright restaurant with yellow and blue theme. Great food and great value! Try Gaeng Paa Luk Tung Gai (Jungle curry with free-range chicken) - warning- very spicy, but delicious!; Stir-fried vermicelli with salted egg.

Price: 65-140 baht per dish

Location: 26/1-2 Huay Kaew Rd, not too far from the shopping centre. Tel: 053 222 009

Ban Suan Mae Rim

Prawn spring rolls

Charming restaurant by the Ping River with great views. They also do Western food and Western/Thai Fusion. The food is great and the restaurant played host to the Thai Royal Family and President of Singapore.

Price: around 150 baht-1000 baht per dish. A little bit pricey, especially for Chiang Mai, but worth it.

Location: North of city by the Ping River (access via 2nd Ring Road near Mae Rim exit). Tel: 053 854 169

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