Saturday 8 October 2016

J Kitchen Vegetarian Restaurant

Vegetarian meals... I would eat it sometimes but it's not usually something I seek out. Nevertheless, there are many very good vegetarian restaurants in Chiang Mai so vegetarians... have no fear! You'll always be able to find something to eat here.

The Thai word for "vegetarian" is มังสวิรัติ (Mung-sa-wi-rut), or "mung" for short. Basically you can go to any restaurant, eatery or street stall and ask for it - eg "pad thai mung", which means a vegetarian version of pad thai. Be careful in non-specialty vegetarian restaurants and street stalls though, as they may just leave out the meat but still use sauces with animal components like fish sauce or oyster sauce.

To be on the safe (and easy to remember side), you might want to use the word เจ ("jay") instead. The "jay" diet is roughly similar to the vegan diet but "jay" food does not contain pungent vegetables  such as garlic and onion. Read more about it here.

 "Mung" and "Jay" or vegetarian food is quite easy to find in Chiang Mai. There's even an "jay" festival held in Thailand each year in October. During this period, you'll be able to find "jay" food everywhere, even your local 7-11 store.

J Kitchen is a little up market, and I'd say a mid to higher end restaurant. It's quite a lovely restaurant with beautiful setting. It was quite busy on the Friday night when my friends and I went.

Despite the name, J Kitchen is a "mung sa wi rut" restaurant, but as we went during the jay festival, there was a special "jay" menu.

The first dish was "gaeng liang" aka "Thai Spicy Mixed Vegetable Soup", a lovely clear curry without coconut milk. The soup was lovely was filled with fragrant herbs and crunchy vegetables. A little spicy due to the pepper. Went down well with the riceberry rice. 105 baht.

Then came the deep-fried crispy shiitake mushrooms with Thai tamarind sauce. This was also lovely. Pretty much like a meaty mushroom tempura. Lovely with the tangy sauce.  120 baht. 

The eggplants were next. I actually thought I ordered stir-fry eggplant with Chinese celery, but we got deep fried eggplants with stir-fried celery on top, so we ended up with several deep fried dishes... (you may have noticed the french fries in the corner of the photo below!) but that's OK, J Kitchen deep fries very well. The eggplants and Chinese celery were delicious. :D 105 baht.

The Tofu Dried Curry (Tofu with panang curry) was also quite lovely. Pillowy puffy pieces of fried (again, lol) tofu topped with panang curry. This makes a great variation to the other dishes in terms of taste. The curry also went well with the other fried things eg. french fries (very nice, btw) and the deep fried eggplants. 140 baht.

I might also mention that J Kitchen is runned by the Vieng Joom On, the "pink tea house" located near the Riverside Restaurant in the city. Because of this, there is a selection of Vieng Joom On tea available at the restaurant. The tea is served in a large pot, but unfortunately, can't be refilled so if you want more tea, you'll have to order another pot.

The staff here is very friendly, welcoming and polite. The ambience is lovely and very comfortable. The air-conditioning is probably a little too cold. There was adequate off street parking.

The price overall works out to be about 250 baht per person and we were all quite full.

I'd certainly like to go back again and try their other dishes.

Have you been to J Kitchen? What did you think? Please write in the comment below. :)

J Kitchen by Vieng Joom On
Facebook page:
Green Plus Mall 2 114/14 T.Nong pa Khrang
Amphoe Muang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand
(At Chiang Mai Business Park)
Opens daily: 10:30am - 8:30pm
GPS Location: 18.7967, 99.02392

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