Sunday, 31 August 2008

Feast with a view @ Palaad Tawanron, Chiang Mai

The Khao Soy lunch was worked off during the afternoon shopping spree. Soon, it was time for dinner! Ah, another opportunity for a local culinary experience.We headed towards Palaad Tawanron for dinner, a more upmarket establishment located behind the Chiang Mai Zoo. Palaad Tawanron is built on the hillslope with wooden terrace overlooking a reservoir surrounded by lush greenery. The cityscape lines the horizon and when night falls, twinkling city lights can be seen winking beyond the body of water. A roving band of banjo playing musicians completes the atmosphere. An excellent place for a romantic rendezvous. But that was not what we were after.
On to the food! We were armed with a list of ‘must try’ from friends who were here before us. Amongst it is the German Pork Knuckle cooked Tawanron style. So being the ‘kiasu’ Malaysians that we are, we had to have it plus a host of other dishes. Expecting the food portions to be small, we ordered a variety of dishes to feed three of us. Little did we know that the portion served is substantial. By the end of dinner, we were stuffed to the gills and still had loads left over.

The pork knuckle (Kah Moo Twanron) was a huge chunk of fried pork leg served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. Tender pieces of meat falls off the bones, I am partial to the charred bits of pork, but at the end there was just too much of it so we were quite ‘jelak’.

(Kah Moo Tawaron, pork knuckle)

But the star of the night in my opinion is the, Tom Yum Goong, Tom Yummy! Fiery and ‘lemak’ enough, it packs a punch. Besides the usual goodies one would find in Tom Yum Goong, this one had ‘kei chi’ or wolf berries stewed in the soup.
(Tom Yum Goong)

The recommended Galum Plee Tawd Naam Pla, cabbage sautéed with fish sauce was totally forgettable and fried rice was bland, its only saving grace was that there was plenty of it. Between the three of us, we only managed to eat a quarter of the serving.

The mixed platter of appetizer arrived just before dessert. I’m not sure if that is the order of food served in Thailand but somehow I think not. The mixed platter was a combination different sausage meats, crispy fried pork skin with some raw vegetables and boiled eggs. The piquant spicy pork sausage was good, the sour fermented pork sausage is an acquired taste, which is polite phrase for ‘I don’t like it’.
(Mixed platter of starters)

It is advisable to make reservations, especially if dining on weekends. If you don’t mind swatting away pesky mosquitoes in the evening, try and secure seating at the balcony to enjoy the view.

Drive along the Suthep Road, at the end turn right then go up the winding road. Follow the signs leading to the zoo or the restaurant itself.

Oh ! and the bill came up to 1230 baht including non alcoholic drinks.

Palaad Tawanron, 100 Huay Kaew Road, Suthep, Chiang Mai, 50200. Tel. 053-216039, 053-216576. Opening hours 11.30am-12am.

Eating Khao Soy @ Lam Duon, Chiang Mai

This is a trip that both of us have been looking forward to. Right after we arrived, we checked into the hotel, dumped our bags and promptly hunted for LUNCH!

About 15 minutes drive from the town centre, on the east bank of the Ping River, we arrived at a nondescript little shop by the roadside. We have it on good authority (recommended by locals) that this place serves the best Khao Soy in town. Khao Soy is a northern Thai street food, popular especially in Chiang Mai.

(Lam Duon Restaurant serving the best Khao Soy in town)
Yellow egg noodles served in a soup that tastes somewhat like curry laksa. The soup base was a pork broth to which curry spices were added, topped with a generous dollop of coconut milk and a liberal sprinkling of crispy fried noodles. C’est délicieux! Be warned, serving portions in Thailand are tiny! But just as well, since the portions were small, we could afford more stomach room to sample other dishes.
(Pork Khao Soy)
While waiting for the Khao Soy to be served, we ordered some grilled pork satay. Now that is something you would not find easily on the streets of Malaysia. Lightly grilled slices of lean pork heavily seasoned with tumeric, served with peanut sauce. A great appetizer to take the edge off gnawing hunger, (it was by then almost 3pm by the time we got down to lunch).
(Pork satay)
After being satiated by the pork satay and Khao Soi, we surveyed the little restaurant for more things to sample. The proprietor proudly showed us the newspaper article featuring Kruai Ping which was grilled banana.
None of us are too fond of mushy bananas, so we ordered only one to share amongst the three of us. The bananas are grilled until the skin splits open and the fruit sugar is slightly caramelized. Not bad, taste like the bananas we chuck into the embers during a BBQ.
(Kruai Ping)
Total bill for lunch was 155 baht for 3 bowls of Khao Soi, 10 sticks of pork satay and one of the Kruai Ping and three bottles of water. That works out to RM5.17 each only.(The open air kitchen where they dish out bowls of delicious Khao Soy)

Apparently this restaurant is somewhat of an institution here in Chiang Mai. This family run restaurant has been around for more then half a century and has served Thai royalty.

Lam Duon Khao Soy, Faharm Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand.