Sunday 30 December 2012

Paper Spoon (Coffee Shop)

Lovely, peaceful, comfortable cafe in a funky little artistic community, Paper Spoon is a small cafe in a little "compound" with lovely art & craft shops. The ambience of Paper Spoon is the main drawcard of the cafe -  a wonderful place to chill out in the garden, enjoying cool drinks or coffee....and decent home made scones, served with strawberry or passionfruit jam. I couldn't see much else in terms of food available though, but it would be very easy to while away an afternoon here with a good book.

The cafe also doubles as a little gift shop, with some beautiful products to tempt us! There are 3 other shops on on the premises that sell lovely art and craft products as well.

Paper Spoon
Located between Wat Umong and Wat Rumpoeng
Opens: 11am-6pm daily (closed on Wednesdays)
Tel: 089 112 9108
GPS Co-ordinates: 18.780767° N 98.952747° E

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Tuesday 27 November 2012

I Din Klin Krog (ไอดินกลิ่นครก) - Som tum shop

Som Tum (aka papaya salad) is one of those street food dishes you can find pretty much anywhere in Thailand. Green papaya, long snake beans, fish sauce, palm sugar, lime juice, fresh chillis, garlic, dried shrimp (and other ingredients) are pounded together to produce some of the most amazing flavours.

I Din Klin Krog (which I think translates to something like "vapour from the earth, aroma from the mortar") is a nice restaurant specialising in som tum. You can choose from 19 different varieties such as fried somtum (deep fried papaya somtum) and apple som tum. They also serve various other Thai dishes as well. Som tums are served in "krogs" ie mortars, and these are consistently good.  Don't forget to ask for "mai ped" (not spicy) if you can't handle chillis! Last time I forgot to do this, my som tum was very nice and (very) spicy, and together with a spicy soup and larb (see below), my tongue was on fire and I couldn't taste much of the other dishes! 45-65 baht depending on the variety.

What do we eat som tums with?

Generally, som tums are eaten with grilled chicken or pork, fried chicken, and of course, sticky rice. Sticky rice is particularly good when rolled into a ball and dip in the flavourful som tum "sauce". Mmmm.  It's also good to have the sticky rice (plain) when you want to tone down the burning on your tongue! hehe

Here we are: Fried Chicken Wings. These are yummy appetizers that went down way to quickly! Very morish. The serving is way too small, but I guess we can't complain too much as it's only 49 baht.

Tom Sap ("Spicy soup") - Very "Sap" - ie very spicy and sour at the same time - yum! This is a really lovely soup full of herbs like kaffir lime leaves, shallots, lemongrass, sweet basil, etc. Kind of like Tom Yum soup with a lot more complexity of flavour - tangy, firey and earthy at the same time. The pork is slightly chewey, which gives a nice contrast to the herbs in the soup. 69 baht.

Fried Chicken Larb - You can read all about larb here on What makes larb larb is the nutty aroma of the toasted rice powder. The fried chicken here is more like soft chicken nuggets, but they do soak up the lovely seasoning / dressing (fish sauce, lime juice & dried red chilli) of the larb (which is also quite spicy!). Delicious! 59 baht.

I Din Klin Krog does have some non spicy dishes as well. The deep fried larb is also quite nice. These are balls of larb - nice and crunchy on the outside, lovely and soft on the inside. As for the taste, I can't really say much as my taste buds were numb from all the chillis from the other dishes! 59 baht.


All in all a nice restaurant. Good food. Good service. Nice ambience.

I Din Klin Krog
Behind Big C Extra (Super Highway) near Wawee Coffee
(Chiang Mai Business Park)
Opens daily: 10am-10pm
GPS: 18.798256,99.023754

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Saturday 10 November 2012

Mamma Mia Italian Restaurant

Pizza, pizza, pizza! There seem to be no shortage of supply of great pizza in Chiang Mai, well, at least to me, anyway... and we don't always have to go to the city to find it. I've heard about Mamma Mia for a while, and finally have a chance to visit for lunch today. The little restaurant has been opened for about a year and serves both Thai and Italian food - something for everyone.

At this point, some of you might ask how the Italian food is if the restaurant serves Thai food as well? I must say, it's pretty good! There is a wide range of pasta, pizzas and salads available, all seem quite authentic, and at very reasonably priced too.

Seafood Pizza

The seafood pizza arrives amidst oohs and ahhas. Thinnish crusty base and generous amount of cheese. A little bland for my taste (perhaps my tastebuds are now accustomed to more intense Thai flavours!) - a bit of cracked pepper fixed that...and I'm embarassed to say...a bit of chilli sauce - on the second piece (just to see what's it's like - sorry, Chef!). The base was pretty good too, nice and crunchy but may be slightly dry (?). All in all though, it was a very good pizza (even without the chilli sauce!), and really good value at 160 baht. I'd love to come back to try other pizzas like the Sicilian Pizza & Napoli Pizza.

Lasagna Mamma Mia

I don't normally order lasagna, but I felt like I needed extra calories! This pork based lasagna is beautiful, the pasta perfectly cooked, has lots of cheese and has the perfect amount of seasoning for me.  My favourite for the day! 150 baht.

Spaghetti Mamma Mia

Very nicely cooked pasta with pork & tomato sauce. We sprinkled parmesan on top. Tastes a bit like the lasagna, but less cheesy, as you would expect. A very good, simple dish. I couldn't eat much as I as so full by this stage! 110 baht.

The verdict

Very nice & comfortable little restaurant. Good food, good value. Nice & friendly staff.

Mamma Mia
Chiang Mai-Phrao Road. From the city, drive pass Meechok Plaza, Susco Petrol Station.  Land & Houses Sansai-Mae Jo. The restaurant is in a set of shop houses just after Land & Houses & before AFM building.
GPS co-ordinates: 18°52'14"N   99°0'54"E
Tel: 053844322
Closed every Wednesday
Opens: 11:30am-2:30pm ; 5pm-10pm

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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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Sunday 26 August 2012

Noen Makok (Noodle Shop) - Now closed

I know, I know, another noodle shop post...but the only thing noodle shops have in common are...noodles, meat, vegies and soup (or without). The flavourings of the noodles are totally different from shop to shop... really!

Tom Yum Noodles with Soup
Noen Makok, a fairly recently opened open air restaurant is fast becoming one of our favourite lunch time places. We go there now at least once a week. Their specialty? Their fantastic chilli dipping sauce which is served to every patron.

Chilli Dip. Very special! 
My favourite there is the Tom Yum Noodles with soup,  with the chilli dip added - the play of the different flavours in your mouth is simply amazing, making me savour every spoonful of the soup. Bliss! 30-35 baht / regular bowl.

The shop itself is very clean and open. There's a covered street front section, and also a very nice area on the side terrace attached to the old Thai house which overlooks a bit of greenery as well.

Noen Makok
1st Ring Road (Middle Ring Road)
Coming from Meechok Plaza towards the City Hall, the restaurant will be on your left just before Moo Baan Preuksathong.
Opens Daily 8am-4pm

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Wednesday 22 August 2012

Tengoku De Cuisine (Japanese)

Tengoku De Cuisine
Tengoku is a lovely Japanese restaurant in a quiet soi opposite Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi. The restaurant is indeed delightful and oozes authenticity, yet very warm at welcoming at the same time. The wonderful distinctive aroma of Japanese food permeates the restaurant promises a fantastic meal ahead.

We were ushered onto the second floor and given the menu. It was hard to miss that Tengoku won Thailand Tattler's Best Restaurant award for its "exceptional cuisine and service" in 2012 seeing that the certificate was pretty much the cover of the menus! Another promise of an unforgettable meal...perhaps...we shall see!

This was my second visit to the restaurant. The first visit left me with a very favourable impression due to a combination of the lovely ambience, good service, and good company. I was in a rather good mood especially after tasting the miso soup and fresh wasabi!

The second visit was more about tasting the food again - was it as good as it seemed? There is no doubt about the quality of the food at Tengoku. However, I did have very high expectations and you'd expect everything to be top notch, considering the location (opposite Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi), the Thailand Tattler's certificate, and especially the price - not cheap, at least for Chiang Mai!

What I loved:

Fresh wasabi - very interesting and I haven't seen anything like it before. Fresh wasabi (plant, root and skin) chopped up and marinated in soy sauce and salt. I find it not as pungent as the usual wasabi served in regular Japanese restaurants that I've been to. Very nice with sashimi (and various other dishes as well). 50 baht.

Fresh wasabi
Salmon Sashimi - Thick chunky pieces of salmon sprinkled with salmon roe that pops in your mouth as you eat. Nice and fresh.

Salmon Sashimi
3 Kinds of Seaweed Salad - I thought this was rather interesting and haven't seen it anywhere else. There are 3 kind of fresh seaweed served with lettuce and on a big bowl of ice. Very fresh, and nicely presented. The best bit is the miso dressing (great on rice too!).

3 kinds of Seaweed Salad
Eggplant with Miso Sauce - I must really like miso sauce as I really enjoyed this dish as well.You can also get the same at Naruto Japanese Restaurant at Meechok Plaza. The soft melt in your mouth eggplant goes really well with the intense flavour of the miso. Yum!

Eggplant with Miso Sauce
What I think could be better:

Tempura Ramen - The ramen and the soup was very good. The soup had a nice intensity of flavour. The tempura, though, was a little disappointing as the batter was softish (not crispy at all), and luke warm.

Tempura Ramen
Rice - The rice (both times I visited) was on the soggy side, at least more so than rice from other Japanese restaurants.

The Verdict

Beautiful restaurant and ambience. Great food, but I don't find the food (at least the dishes we ordered) a lot better than other good Japanese restaurants around in Chiang Mai. There are some interesting dishes that I don't see a lot elsewhere though, and they would be worth a try eg. Beef Takai (Raw beef), if you're into it.

You'll be able to find some recommended dishes from Tengoku here (in Thai).

The price worked out to be about 500 baht/person for what we ordered. They do have a buffet for 800 baht/person as well.

The service is fine - friendly and pretty efficient.

Reservations are a good idea as both times I went, the restaurant was pretty full!

Have you been to Tenguku De Cuisine? What do you think?

Tengoku De Cuisine
55/8 Soi Wat Buak Krok Luang
Opposite Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi
T. Tasala A. Muang Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 851 133, 081 885 5959

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