DINING OUT - ENTERTAINMENT

Chiang Mai Orchid’s Phu Ping Dim Sum Business Lunch - quite a mouthful!

The Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel is a well known landmark on Huay Kaew Road, and their classical Chinese restaurant is the Phu Ping. The Dining Out team was invited to try the Dim Sum lunch in the Phu Ping restaurant, and being partial to this type of relaxed eating, we were pleased to accept. This, by the way, is not the usual tote it up as you select the items, but a 247 baht, all inclusive lunchtime deal.

The Phu Ping restaurant is done out with that typical ‘grandness’ of an upmarket Chinese restaurant. Gilded dragons and huge urns, waitresses in cheongsam’s split to the hip and despite the aforementioned golden dragons, it has a simple, clean, uncluttered look. You have the choice of eating at different sized free-standing tables, or in alcoves, and the tables are covered with heavy white linen table cloths, and the crockery is quality porcelain - despite the cost of the Dim Sum lunch, it is an upper class restaurant. There are also four rooms for private parties, if that is your requirements. Big business, perhaps?

The Dim Sum lunch has its own menu, quite separate from the a la carte one, with 23 items covering all the various items - be they steamed or deep fried. Most items have descriptive names, although there are a couple such as Sui Mai and Tai Wan Sui Mai that require an interpreter, or the leap of faith! The items range between 25 baht for the Chinese buns or the white lettuce stuffed with shrimp, through to 50 baht for the steamed prawns, but most are under 30 baht. Shrimp, crab, pork, duck and fish are all represented plus eggs, lettuce, bean curd, cucumber and white mushroom.

We were joined for lunch by Janjeera Mechai from the hotel’s PR department, and very quickly the eager attending service personnel descended. Dark soy and light soy in special saucers were arranged in front of us, and the Dim Sum items followed quickly, with about four or five containers to begin with. One of these was the steamed prawns, and the servings had plenty of prawns. No complaints there. This, I am told, is one particular item upon which the Chinese rate the Dim Sum food.

One of the first set was the deep fried stuffed taro. This was another excellent item that I found to be most enjoyable (and could be easily stabbed with a chopstick)! We continued on, the service girls bringing what seemed to be an unending stream of dishes, including one of my favourites - a Chinese red pork bun - but just remember not to eat the paper. Two other items that I really enjoyed were the Crabmeat Sui Mai and the Black Mushrooms with Shrimp, though I can honestly say there was nothing that I did not enjoy. Excellent standards and the specific items were not minuscule as one sometimes gets at other Dim Sum places.

Towards the end, we were given some fried rice with pineapple and then a clear soup with white mushrooms and red Chinese herbs, which I was assured is good for one’s kidneys. But this was not the end. There were still desserts to come, but Miss Terry had to decline, being altogether too full to take another mouthful.

To drink, Madame chose the jasmine tea, while I went for soda water - after all, one should have a clear head for business, though the usual beers and wines are available for those who do not have to work after lunch.

The Phu Ping’s Business Dim Sum lunch had everything required of a business lunch. It was quick, the food was good and relatively inexpensive, compared to the cost of the items if they had been ordered individually. I would have been happy to conduct my business there - and I would leave satisfied and full! On the day we attended there were many other business types having lunch too. I hope all their negotiations were as good as the lunch they ate. Recommended.

Phu Ping restaurant, Chiang Mai Orchid hotel, 23 Huay Kaew Road, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 222 099, email cmorchid @loxinfo.co.th, www.ching maiorchid.com.