I start this week’s restaurant review with an admission -
Miss Terry Diner is a card-carrying carnivore, so when I found that we were
going to a vegetarian restaurant for lunch I began wondering where I could get
some vacuum-packed sausages to hide in the car for later!
The restaurant chosen was Khun Churn, the Chiang Mai version
of a similar restaurant in Bangkok (Sathorn Soi 10). It is a little past the
‘Fine Thanks’ entertainment outlet and about 50 meters down Nimmanhaemin
Lane 7 on the left side. You will have to look carefully as the restaurant is
not well signposted and the garden section is tucked away from view.
restaurant is in two main sections. There is a large garden courtyard with
rustic furniture settings, a buffet set along the back wall and a fountain in
one corner. Small trees and shrubs abound, so you do have to be a little careful
traversing the courtyard with full plates from the buffet. There is also a
dwelling in the area, which is air-conditioned, and contains a labyrinth of
interconnected small rooms, with some rather low overhead beams. You have been
warned! We were shown to the air-con area as the garden section was full to
capacity. I was not aware of any vegetarian seminars in the region that day, so
I have to presume Khun Churn’s buffet to be very popular.
The menu is large and in Thai and English, with brief
explanations of the dishes. It begins with entrees, then soups, curries, salads,
mains, some Northern dishes, noodles, fried rice, and beverages, and finally an
assortment of fruit juices and teas with most around B. 10. For those who are
still claiming there is nothing on the menu to suit, there is a plate of
french-fries for B. 25, complete with vegetarian tomato sauce!
We tried a broad selection of vegetarian dishes, some of
which were obvious as to their content, whilst others were not so easy to work
out. The hoy-tod which usually comes as a stir-fried mussels in egg batter with
bean sprouts is presented as a ‘look-alike’ but made from mushroom, egg and
seaweed as well as the bean sprouts. I enjoyed this dish very much.
We also had the spicy curried ‘duck’ which was more
deceptive visually than it was texturally, but the curry was very pleasant. The
rice we chose was the brown unpolished rice, which comes as a ‘disc’ and is
healthily ‘crunchy’ rather than the more usual stodgy offerings one sees so
Another dish I enjoyed was the Indian salad (Salad Kak) which
came with ‘crisps’ on top and a very flavoursome peanut sauce.
Whilst some of the other items were perhaps not ones that I
knew from the carnivorous world, there was nothing we had for lunch that was not
to our tastes or palates. And every dish was truly vegetarian.
This restaurant provides food that is undoubtedly very
healthy for your inner workings, and the prices charged are also very healthy
for your wallet, as the vast majority of items are around B. 35 and the most
expensive item I could find was only B. 55 for the hot pan stir-fried mix
mushroom flavour garlic ginger (sorry, but that’s what it says in the menu)!
Whilst there is a B. 55 daily buffet, which was obviously well patronized, at
the prices in the a la carte menu I think I prefer the luxury of getting what
you want, rather than getting what someone else wants you to have! However, this
is a very personal and subjective view.
If you are looking for a strictly vegetarian venue, then Khun
Churn should be on your list. If you are looking for somewhere to eat that is
just a little different, then this is another reason to have Khun Churn on your
list. And by the way, I didn’t need the vacuum-packed sausages!
Khun Churn vegetarian restaurant, 120/2 Nimman hae min Road (Lane 7), Chiang
Mai, telephone 053 224 124. Street parking in the soi. Open seven days (but
closed on the 16th of every month), 9.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. until