Duangtawan’s Sunflower

A bright Chinese bloom in the city

We had only just finished celebrating Chinese New Year, so it seemed appropriate that the Dining Out Team should venture out and try a Chinese dim sum lunch (which I believe means ‘with tea’). We had also been discussing Chiang Mai’s pollution problems, and so the most logical lunchtime venue was the 24th floor of the Duangtawan Hotel in their Sunflower Restaurant. From there, on a clear day you can see Alcatraz! On the other days ... well, not quite so far!

The restaurant area is obviously Chinese, as soon as you step out of the lift. Marble floors, red Chinese lanterns, red Chinese crackers and red decor. Enter the dining area and the tables with their immaculate while linen tablecloths have contrasting red high-backed chairs.

However, one of the most spectacular sights is the view over Chiang Mai. One side faces the mountains, whilst the other overlooks the Ping River. The view is better than the one you get from the plane flying in, and you don’t have to lock your table into the upright position!

We had decided on the set Buffet Dim Sum lunch and were joined by the Duangtawan GM Surasri Suwannanon and the senior sales and PR manager Benchawan Chaemvimol. Chinese dining lends itself to convivial groups.

For a dim sum lunch, you have a choice of menus. There is the B. 270 ‘All You Can Eat’ unlimited dim sum plus the soup of the day, noodle or rice dish of the day and complimentary desert from the chef. Or you can choose from the 37 item dim sum a la carte menu, with 36 of the items ranging in price between B. 30-40. The only ‘expensive’ dish is the shark fin and wonton soup at B. 100.

For those looking for larger groups there are also some other set menus for dinner parties of 10 people. These also come with a free bottle of wine for the table. The seven different menus range in price from B. 500 per head to B. 1,800 per head, and represent an inexpensive way to celebrate birthdays or other special events.

Being dim sum we drank tea with lunch, and I chose the cold tea which I found very refreshing. Before we began, hot towels were produced, another nice touch and these were replaced regularly during our meal (perhaps our waiter could see just what a mess we could make of ourselves!).

We began with the deep-fried items, which I enjoyed, and then on to the multitude of steamed dishes, followed by a delightful Schezuan ‘soup of the day’ and a noodle dish.

The ‘All You Can Eat’ dim sum was for us, ‘More Than We Could Eat’ and I did have to beg off the chef’s desert. We did enjoy the items that were presented, and for me, the deep-fried taro was truly a ‘melt in the mouth’ pleasure.

A special mention must be made of the restaurant captain who looked after our table. He kept a very good eye on us, bringing more of anything that we were obviously enjoying, and noiselessly bringing me spoon and fork when it became noticeable that I was less than adept with my chopsticks! It all adds to the occasion.

There was no doubt that the Duangtawan Hotel is trying hard with their Sunflower Chinese Restaurant. It is a good venue, and there are VIP rooms for special parties. The food was traditional Chinese and of a very good standard. Well worth a visit, and I believe that the view from the 24th floor at night is even more spectacular. Highly recommended.

Sunflower Restaurant, Duangtawan Hotel, 132 Loy Kroh Road, Changklan, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 905 000, fax 053 275 429, email info @dtwhotel.com, website www.duangtawanhotel.com. Open seven days, 11 a.m. till 2.30 p.m. for lunch and 6 p.m. till 10.30 p.m. for dinner. Secure parking in hotel’s multi-level car park.

By the way, there is a special promotion until March 31, 2005 with 20 percent discount on a la carte items and on the set dim sum buffet lunch. An even cheaper way to experience a very pleasant Chinese restaurant.