When musically inclined friends decided to produce an Evening
With Cole Porter, Esther Ping’s River Ping Palace was the natural choice of
venues. Located on the banks of the Ping River, the restaurant easily seats and
serves sixty. And those who didn’t stay for dinner after the performance were
welcome to have a drink and enjoy the music. The Dining Out team was delighted
to indulge itself in this lovely fixed price dinner, at 400 baht a plate. As
Cole Porter would say, “Let’s Do It!”
meal began with a mixed appetizer platter that was beautifully presented. Fried
mushrooms and other delicacies were served with complimenting sauces. The most
interesting choice was the minced prawn that was carefully wrapped around a
piece of lemon grass and deep-fried. Dipped into just a touch of sweet sauce and
you could hear the “mmms” at our table. This dish is priced at 150 baht on
the regular menu. Boneless, stuffed chicken wings were also served on the
appetizer plate, and were a favorite, too. These are priced at 150 baht.
Next came a stew of pork and fresh vegetables, served with
crusty fried Chinese bread. The pork was so tender that you could easily cut it
with a spoon, and the broth was full and rich after stewing for about six hours.
Esther describes this dish as “Straight from my Mummy’s kitchen.” and
“Super yummy”. She’s right. We spooned the stew onto our rice, and then
dipped the buns in the remaining sauce. It soon became apparent that there would
be no leftovers. This dish is regularly priced at 200 baht.
A dish of panang chicken curry arrived. The chicken was cut
into strips and cooked until tender; the sauce had just enough spice to be tasty
and interesting. We quickly polished that dish off, too! The menu notes that the
panang chicken is 120 baht. Tender pork ribs glazed with honey arrived, the
sweet of the honey in nice contrast to the spice of the panang chicken.
Then came the fish. The cooking staff had carefully removed
the delicate white meat from the fish, and then deep-fried the fish and the
filets. The meat was cut into bite sized pieces and placed back onto the fish,
topped with herbs and served. This is a dish to savor with a spicy sauce, and we
did just that. Fish is priced at 250 to 300 baht each, depending on the market.
For many at our table, the mixed seafood served with lettuce
was a highlight. You just spoon the seafood and vegetable mixture onto a piece
of lettuce, add a touch of sweet soy sauce, and wrap it up. This dish is 250
baht when purchased separately.
Plates of fruit began arriving, and we found it to be sweet
and fresh. The mango was incredible. But Esther Ping is known for her fabulous
desserts, and those who love sweets were looking anxiously around the room.
Surely there would be plates of chocolate or fruit cheesecake? Yes, indeed,
there would. Each plate looked like a bakery advertisement with beautifully
arranged delicacies to tempt all palates – chocolate, spice cake, fresh mango
cheesecake, key lime pie. But these weren’t simply beautiful sweets; they were
also absolutely delicious sweets. Our diners tried to be polite, but it was
clear that we had found “True Love” at the River Ping Palace.
The River Ping Palace offers an abundance of vegetarian
dishes. Its drink list is extensive, with sodas, fruit juices, beer and wine as
well as mixed drinks available. Beer starts at 70 baht, sodas begin at 20 baht,
coffees and teas start at 50 baht. Mixed drinks are priced at 120 baht each.
Wine prices are determined by your choice of vineyards and vintages.
The River Ping Palace also caters and is available for
special events. It’s a charming music venue, casual and relaxing in the
The River Ping Palace, 385/2 Charoen Prathet Road, T. Changklan, Muang,
Chiang Mai, 50100. Telephone 0 5327 4932. The River Ping Palace is open every
day from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Email [email protected] yahoo .com. Limited
parking inside the gate but ample parking on the street.