The Him Pochana Restaurant has been on the Chiang
Mai-Lamphun Road location for only 6 months, but in that time has already
built up a sizable following. One reason for that may be the fact that the
owner, Wichan Tangtonrakul is the president of the Chiang Mai Restaurant Club,
so he knows the food business.
The main restaurant building is a huge, open on three
sides, building, which also has air-conditioned private rooms along the
enclosed side. It is set back from the road and has a large car park, and you
cross a small footbridge over a stream to get to the dining area. There is no
English signage, so look for the road sign that indicates 17 kilometres to Doi
Suthep, and Him Pochana is about 100 metres before that on the left.
On first look, it is a typical “Chinese” style eatery,
plenty of circular tables with central carousels, hovering waiters with ice
and tongs, a Chinese shrine at one end and television sets! We were met by
Khun Wichan himself, and the Dining Out team of two settled down to study the
menu. And ‘study’ is the name of the game. In typical Chinese style again,
the menu is a multi-paged effort (16 to be precise) with around 15-20 items
per page, with some items you will not often see, such as fried chitterlings
in oyster sauce, spicy hog maw salad, pig entrails salad or goose leg roast
noodles and dried mushroom. It is also in Thai and English, so no problems
To indicate the range and prices, I have used the indicated
price of the ‘small’ serves (most dishes coming in two sizes) for the sake
of the review. The first page is entitled Vegetables and includes all the
usual stir fries and in addition ‘spinacia gleracea’, apium, water mimosa
and young pumpkin leaf. Prices ranged from 40 baht up to 80.
Pork dishes are next, in every way you could imagine at B.
60, with beef next and at the same price, as is the following section on
chicken choices. Duck ranges between B. 60-100, while stir-fried shrimp is B.
80-100. Squid dishes are generally B. 70-80, while crab is around B. 80-100,
though some seasonal dishes are charged by weight. Fried fish are again cheap
at B. 60-80 and even the steamed or fried whole fish are inexpensive, with
small fish coming in around B. 160, and large examples B. 240-300.
Next up are a couple of pages of spicy salad items with the
majority B. 60, including pigs ear, water mimosa and chickens feet. These are
followed by soups (B. 80), roasted items B. 60-80, grills B. 80-150, and
continues on for another four pages, with rice and noodle dishes down as low
as B. 30.
Khun Vichan had arranged for us to sample a range of
dishes, including fried pork with onion and pepper, stir fried Chinese lettuce
and shrimp balls, a fish head and taro root soup, a crab in an egg based sauce
and a sea bass topped with oyster sauce.
Now I must admit that on my own I would not have attempted
the fish head soup, but let me tell you that it was sensational! A wonderful
rich stock, with the taro soft and big chunks of fish meat. It was almost a
European winter soup and we both enjoyed it immensely. The other dishes were
also excellent, and I particularly liked the Chinese lettuce and shrimp balls
(must have been a mighty big shrimp), while Madame went for the crab.
The Dining Out team came away from Him Pochana very
impressed. From very modest surroundings, this restaurant is producing an
excellent standard of food. And inexpensively. We were not disappointed in any
of the dishes, and that soup was just superb! . Highly recommended as a good
family style restaurant offering excellent food and equally excellent value.
Take the kids.
Him Pochana, Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road (just before the 17 km to Doi Suthep
road sign), 78 Tambon Changpuak, Ampur Muang Chiang Mai City, tel. 053 219
056. Open 7 days, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.