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Hean Kha Joa

Strawberries are now a premium crop in Chiang Mai

Two food festivals to be held this year to promote Thai cuisine and tourism

Hean Kha Joa

Is this the world’s cheapest buffet lunch?

In a world where we are all used to costs going upwards, the Hean Kha Joa Restaurant is bucking the trend. After three years of promotion of a 40 baht lunchtime buffet, they have reduced the price to 30 baht! With news like that, it was imperative that the Dining Out Team pay this restaurant a visit.

The restaurant building is a huge wooden Thai house set back from the soi, with a car park area in front. For those with an interest in vintage cars, there is a maroon coloured 1936 Morris 8 tourer sitting at the front of the parking lot. It does go and it has the original engine, the ubiquitous Toyota has not found its way under the bonnet!

The ground floor of the building contains the restaurant, whilst upstairs there are function areas and an extensive, multi-roomed museum. This is a Thai establishment in more ways than one, and you do take your shoes off and leave them on the racks outside. On entering the restaurant you are presented with your plates, serviettes, a glass and cutlery. The tables are arranged refectory style and you have a choice of seating. You can either sit on the floor, Thai style, or on the right hand side of the restaurant, the tables are built so that you can sit around them and place your feet and lower legs in the “hole” beneath. For us, not so loose limbed, westerners, this was the preferred option, and you do get a cushion as well.

The buffet area has long groaning tables with more than 20 dishes on our Sunday. Although there are no name tags on any of the food warmers, most of the dishes can be recognised, and the staff will advise you (or any of the other diners will too) as to what is what. The staff are all turned out in traditional Northern shirts and trousers, and we found them very helpful.

The cuisine is mainly Northern and Thai, and includes both steamed and fried rice, corn fritters, hard-boiled eggs, stir fried pork in basil, deep fried mushrooms, steamed vegetables, stir fried vegetables (pad pak ruem), chicken wings, larb isaan, som tum and another called yum paduk foo, (sorry, my notes failed to tell me what was in it), green curry chicken and “kanom jin” (Chinese noodles) to be taken with a red chicken curry.

We tried a variety of dishes, with Miss Terry sticking to those which were not too spicy, and I was very pleasantly surprised at how few were really chilli hot. Of course, with the buffet style, if you find something that really appeals, then you pop back out for more! The corn fritters came with a lightly spicy red sauce and this was my dish of the day, whilst Madame went more for the tom yum talay (seafood).

We were so engrossed with the overall concept of the 30 baht lunch we did not spoil it by looking for alcoholic drinks, but stuck with water from the dispenser, like the vast majority of the diners there that Sunday lunch.

From the point of view of “value for money” it would be hard to find better, anywhere. With over 20 dishes to choose from and good quality food it is no wonder the place gets busy at lunchtime, which covers 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. For a good fun lunch, this is a place you can take the family and still have change left out of 200 baht. By the way, you do not have to stick to water with your buffet lunch, beer and wine are available, but obviously not within the 30 baht scheme. We also found that the local people all appreciated our being there and were just so helpful. Highly recommended. (Hean Kha Joa does have a la carte dining in the evenings, combined with local dance performances, if you only have time to experience the restaurant after sundown.)

Hean Kha Joa Restaurant and Museum, Soi 3/3, Keaw Nawarat Road, (Nr the overpass to the Prince Royal’s College), Chiang Mai, telephone 053 262 905.

Strawberries are now a premium crop in Chiang Mai

Supatatt Dangkrueng

Strawberry planting in the districts of Samoeng, Mae Rim, Fang, and the Highland Agricultural Promotion Centers of Ban Mae Hae and Ban Khob Dong, now covers 2,600 rai.

Kriangkrai Kanongdechachat, chief of the Agricultural Extension Office Chiang Mai Province, said that Chiang Mai is the largest agricultural region for strawberry growing.

Gross production this year is expected to be 9,000 tons greater than previously and return 220 million baht in revenue. 65% of the production will go to the food-processing industries and 35% directly to the consumers.

Kriangkrai also recommended that the farmers use biological fertilizer and soil enhancement and pest control methods instead of chemicals.

Two food festivals to be held this year to promote Thai cuisine and tourism

Metinee Chaikuna

There are plans to host two food festivals in Chiang Mai this year; the first, a “generic” food festival in early December and the second, “the 3rd Chiang Mai Food and Entertainment Festival” mid-December.

Preparations for the first festival, organized by the Chiang Mai Restaurants Association, are well underway. However, the festival, which is normally held on December 1-7 every year, has been postponed to December 4-10. It will be held at the ground behind the Central Airport Plaza.

Pukdee Jiasatit, the owner of Jia Tong Heng Chinese Restaurant is the manager of the festival this year. He revealed that this year the festival would have special shows that were not performed in previous years. These include cultural performances from Korea and Sa-lor-sor-sung, Northern Thai musical shows. Performances will be held every day during the festival.

The second festival is the 3rd Chiang Mai Food and Entertainment Festival organized by the Chiang Mai Restaurant and Entertainment Association. This festival will be at the Kad Choeng Doi Fair ground on Klong Chonprathan Rd, Suthep, Chiang Mai. It will commence on December 13 and run through to December 17 from 4 p.m. to midnight.

This festival will also feature several shows, and 100 food stalls. The shows will include Lanna artists, nationally renowned comedy stars, Thai folk singers, the famous Chiang Mai Cabaret show, and Aerobic dances, free health check services by the Faculty of Associated Medical Science, Chiang Mai University, the Smart Kids Contest, Som Tum (papaya salad) Cooking Thailand Championship Contest, and a show by Ajarn Yingsuk, a famous TV cook, plus many others.

Fast now so you can feast later at these two fun events in December.