The Mabuhay Restaurant is not a place where you stand on
ceremony. Owner Agnes (Annie) Prathuangsuk says, “I want everyone to come
and feel at home.” She then goes on to relate how several of her guests,
ladies and gentlemen of high station, have realised that if too many of them
come at once, they might just have to serve themselves! And they do. It’s
that kind of a place.
is a Filipina who married a Thai architecture student and came to live in
Thailand over 30 years ago. She had no intention of opening a restaurant, but
it just happened and Mabuhay has been at its current location for over 15
It is very close to the Amari Rincome, off Nimmanhaeminda
Road. Look for the sign on the right, about 500 metres from the Amari. Mabuhay
is 200 metres down the small soi. Look hard, you can miss it!
The restaurant is set in the ‘garden’ beside the house,
but in a covered patio area. The eight tables are covered with cheery check
tablecloths and the chairs are simple wooden ones. Condiments on the table
included salt and pepper in oregano and bay leaves dispensers! “They make
the best shakers,” said Annie. The decor would best be described as
‘eclectic’ with a Japanese watercolour alongside a Thai calendar, and the
Beatles music in the background.
The menu is as unpretentious as the surroundings. A simple
green laminated number printed on two sides with English and Thai and some
Filipino names. On one side are the mains which range in price from the
roasted spare ribs with rice at B. 50, through to the sarsiadong isda (fish in
tomato sauce) at B. 100 to the top rellenong isda, a stuffed fish at B.
200-240 depending upon weight.
Four rice based dishes are next (B. 45-70) including
chicken adobo. There are five soups (B. 80-120), with three of them being
Filipino cuisine items and it’s over the page. This starts with four
vegetable items (not strictly vegetarian items) (B. 50-80) and then half a
dozen noodle dishes (B. 40-60) including spaghetti and a pancit canton, a
Filipino local style noodles and a whatever’s left kind of dish. Desserts
and drinks are all that’s remaining, with beers at around B. 55-75, softs at
B. 15 and iced tea or coffee at B. 20.
We left it to Annie to decide what we should have and she
presented us with a range. We began with the sinigang na hipon, a shrimp in
sour broth soup, but one that is quite different from the tom yum goong of
Thailand. There were around five different vegetables in the broth, and some
large shrimps. Not too spicy either.
We followed with the rellenong isda stuffed fish - an
amazing creation where the fish meat is totally removed from the skin,
filleted, chopped and returned to its skin ‘wrapper’ and baked. Annie said
you have to have great ‘feeling’ to be able to make this item. “Art from
the heart,” she called it!
A very moist chicken adobo was next, with very subtle
tastes that I returned to more than once. Another ‘more-ish’ dish was her
crispy pata with pickled vegetables and a sugar/soy sauce. This is similar to
German pork knuckle, but is actually of Spanish origins. We made going noises,
but we were not allowed to take our leave till we had tried her home-made
apple and coconut pies. They were lovely, Annie, but we were too full!
The Dining Out Team was unanimous in its verdict. Mabuhay
was fun and Mabuhay gave us good food in large portions. “I don’t know how
to cut pie in small slices,” said Annie, after we remonstrated with her over
the enormous slices of pie! The food is excellent - done to Annie’s recipes,
by the lady herself. This is a place to go to enjoy yourself and have a great
meal at the same time. Just don’t bother dressing up for dinner! As Annie
said, “If everything is formal, it’s not Mabuhay!” Highly recommended.
Mabuhay Restaurant, 2/1 Sukasem Road (off Nimmanhaeminda Road), Chiang Mai,
telephone 053 223 753, 09 478 8474.