Monday 31 October 2011

Ruam Jai Gai Yang - Som Tum (Grilled Chicken & Papaya Salad) รวมใจไก่ย่าง-ส้มตำ

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?
Gai Yang (grilled chicken) - Som Tum (papaya salad) is one of those ubiquitous street food dishes in Thailand. Each shop has its own version of these tasty grilled chicken, usually served with just as tasty papaya salad, and sticky rice. Yum!

Driving past Ruam Jai Gai Yang-Som Tum shop one evening on the way to visit a relative at Chiang Mai Ram Hospital, a stream of people entering the restaurant catches my eyes. So how could I not have dinner there that night?

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?
First thing I noticed? The aroma of chicken being grilled on Thai style BBQ right at the entrance. Fantastic! I then take a good look at this rather large and rustic restaurant, built around a tree. Most of the tables are taken up, and the food on look pretty good!

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?
The menu is actually quite extensive. They have more than just chicken. There are roast pork, and also various kind of fish and soup dishes. There are various kinds of som tums available as well, including ones with brined crab, fermented fish, as well as carrot som tum and mango som tum (and various versions of these), and more! For the newbie, I suggest you stick to the regular som tum.

I ordered half a chicken (55 baht. Whole chicken: 110 baht). Very nice, tasty and tender chicken, the meat falling off the bones. Scrumptious! (Aside: I don't think I've had a bad grilled chicken in Thailand yet). Very nice with sticky rice and the accompanying chilli dip. My sticky rice came with a little added surprise of extra protein in the form of a dead ant. LOL...a dead ant is not so bad, I guess. It could have been worse!

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?
And of course, I had to order the Som Tum (30 baht). Actually, the chicken came first and I kind of almost finished it before the papaya salad came out...quite a little while later. Well, I was hungry! The som tum was richly flavoured, and quite spicy (I asked for "mai ped" - not spicy). The salad was little on the sweet side for me, however, delicious, nonetheless. A little gripe:  the serving was pretty small.

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?
I'd really like to go back and try the soup and the serpent head fish that look rather good here:  link

The verdict:
The restaurant seemed clean enough (until I saw the ant in my sticky rice)
The service isn't fantastic, but acceptable for this type of restaurant.
The food is great (well, from what I've had) ; prices are quite reasonable too.

Ruam Jai Gai Yang - Som Tum
Bunreungrit Road
Next to 7-11,  about 50m or so  from Chiang Mai Ram Hospital
Tel: 053 215 912
Opens: Daily 10am-10pm

View Chiang Mai Eating Guide in a larger map

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Friday 21 October 2011

Chez Marco

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?
Whenever I asked my friends about a good Italian restaurant in Chiang Mai, the name Chez Marco always comes up. Actually, Chez Marco is a Mediterranean restaurant, and this is the first time I've actually visited the restaurant...and I am impressed!

Sure, it can be quite hard to find parking on Loi Kroh Road in the evenings, but we were lucky to find a spot about 100m down the road. Not having made a reservation, we were also lucky to get a table. Lucky we arrived early at 6:30pm!

I love the warm and friendly ambience of the restaurant. The staff is lovely and welcoming as well. This is also the first restaurant in Thailand I've been to where the enthusiastic waitress launches into explaining the menu and describing the dishes without being asked. I have read some reviews complaining that the tables are too close together, and that the restaurant can get quite noisy. The tables are certainly quite close together, but because there weren't that may guests there yet I didn't really have a problem with the noise.

Finally we decide on one of the specials of the day, Duck Confit, 295 baht. The duck is beautifully cooked and so tender the meat is falling off the bones. A bit on the salty side, and interestingly tastes a bit like "Ped Palo", a Thai way of cooking duck, and goes beautifully with the potatoes. The potatoes, incidentally, are amazing.

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?
The Salmon Filet with Mushroom Tarragon Cream Sauce, 290 baht, is excellent. There is nothing left on the plate (not even the sauce) by the time we finish with it!

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?

Shrimp and Squid flamed with Cognac, garlic, parsley, blacken style vegetable, 220 baht. This is quite  a nice dish, served on a hot plate and flamed as it's being served (see 1st photo), giving of a delicious aroma. The prawns are very tasty, and the squid nice and tender.

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?

Greek Salad with balsamic and olive oil dressing. 160 baht. A good salad, nice and fresh.

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?

The total price: 1040 baht (3 people, including 1 beer). No VAT or service charge added to the bill, which is a nice surprise.

Overall, I think Chez Marco is a great restaurant & very good value.  I'll certainly be back (probably quite often) to try other dishes!

Chez Marco
15/7 Loi Kroh Road
T. Chang Klan
A. Muang, Chiang Mai. 20100
(Near Night Bazaar)
Tel: 053 207 032
Next to Raming Lodge Hotel.

Link: Interview with Marco by Dining Guide Chiang Mai

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Thursday 13 October 2011

Sa-ard Sawoei Fishball Noodles Shop

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?

Noodles. One of my favourite things for lunch. They come in all sorts of varieties. Sa-ard ("Clean")  Sawoei ("Food")  specialises in Fishball Noodles, or rather, fishballs with noodles. So what's so special? They actually make their own fishballs. There are various varieties, all made without preservatives. Their motto is "Fresh, Clean, Delicious, Homemade".

Before you go on any further, if you haven't been to a noodle shop in Thailand before, you might want to read this article, "How to Order Noodles in Thailand". It can be a little confusing if it's your first time!

Tom Yum Flavoured Fishball Noodles
From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?
My favourite at Sa-ard Sawoei is Sen Mee (rice vermicelli) Tom Yum (the tom yum spicy soup) with the fishballs. Sometimes I'll have Ba Mee (egg noodles) Hang (dry - ie no soup). The fishballs here are great, and don't taste fishy. Incidentally, the noodles (except for "tom yum") are served "plain", which means you add condiments - fish sauce, chilli, sugar - yourself at the table, so you can adjust the flavours to your liking.  They also serve Kao Kha Moo (Stewed pork legs with rice) - also very nice. The cost is about 30-35 bath for a bowl of noodle.

...And to finish off the meal, coconut ice-cream! It's rock hard straight from the fridge, so leave it out for a little while before digging in. It's delicious, and is more like gelato than ice-cream. You can choose from a large variety of toppings as well.

Coconut Ice-cream!
From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?

Sa-ard Sawoei is open daily for lunch.
Mae Jo Road, Chiang Mai
Directions: From Super Highway, take Mae Jo - Phrao Road, drive through the 2nd Ring Road (121), pass Land and Houses. Just after PTT service station, turn right at the U-Turn. You'll see the eatery there.

From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?
From Where to eat in Chiang Mai?

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