At one point in American civilization Hellís Kitchen in New York City was a
hotbed of crime and corruption, lavish lobster and champagne dinners and
gangster shoot Ďem ups. But Hellís Kitchen has been gentrified and the name
is used many other ways now. Thereís a television cooking show of the same
name, and restaurants featuring spicy food are borrowing it for fun. Take a trip
around the moat to Chaiyaphum Road, and join us for a tasty visit to Hellís
Kitchen Afro American Style Bar-B-Que. Youíll have delicious ribs and chicken
with the traditional ďfixingsĒ that I remember so well from church and lodge
dinners when I was growing up far, far from New York City.
Lateef Fahari was born in Cleveland, Ohio in the USA and grew up on his
motherís and grandmotherís cooking. Youíll sample some of each when you
visit his restaurant, and youíll be happy that those two ladies passed on a
love of cooking to Lateef. He graduated from Ohio University, and then completed
a masterís degree in public administration before spending a career in civil
service with the U.S. government. His work sent him to Italy, Germany, Greece,
Turkey, Qatar and Korea but he discovered Thailand along the way. And, like many
people, he came back over and over again, finally settling in Chiang Mai after
Hellís Kitchen opened on May 14 and within a week Gina had received both
emails and telephone calls telling her about it. The Dining Out team recently
settled in to try out the food. We ordered rib and chicken dinners and a variety
of side dishes Ė hot corn on the cob, potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans and
fries. And we found some surprising tastes in old favorites. Lateef insists on
cooking the meat he serves over charcoal, and he designed his own grill. He does
not parboil the ribs. They are flavored with the charcoal smoke and a delicious
sauce made from his grandmotherís recipe. His grandmother was from Tuskegee,
Alabama, and her barbeque sauce is thick and sweet. No rubs are used, and the
sauce is cooked into the meat. The bar-b-que rib dinner is priced at 140 baht
and comes with two side dishes. The chicken dinner is priced at only 99 baht.
Individual pieces of bar-be-qued chicken can also be ordered and are reasonably
priced at 20 to 30 baht. Tender wings sell at five for 80 baht. The restaurant
offers jumbo full racks of ribs at 280 baht, as well as kebabs and sandwiches.
side dishes are unique and include a chunky bowl of cole slaw filled with
vegetables and dressed with a mayonnaise-style sauce, sweet tender baked beans
with a surprise ingredient, buttered corn on the cob, and sweet potato salad.
Side dishes are priced from 15 to 35 baht per serving. The baked beans are
prepared with small chunks of pineapple, Lateefís motherís specialty, and
theyíre a nice variation from the pork and beans in a can that we so often
encounter Ė and reject. The potato salad is made with sweet pickle, potatoes
and chopped boiled eggs, giving the dish a sweet rather than savory flavor. For
those who prefer Thai food, the restaurant offers Thai style ribs as well as
stir-fried chicken with basil. Hellís Kitchen also offers a brunch dish of
waffles and chicken with juice and coffee at 99 baht. Beverages include sodas,
juices, coffee, beer and wine, all at reasonable prices. But donít miss the
tender and tasty ribs. The sauce is good enough to bottle!
Hellís Kitchen Afro American Style Bar-B-Que, 70/19 Chaiyaphum Road, T. Chang
Moi, Muang Chiang Mai. Open every day from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Open until
midnight after June 1. Telephone 053-232-195, 04-732-7159. Take out and delivery
in the neighborhood available. Proceed on Chaiyaphum Road. Just after Miguelís
Mexican Restaurant, you will see a cross walk and stop light. A small parking
area will be on your left, in front of a new shopping mall. Walk into the
shopping mall past the Black Canyon Coffee shop, and you will spot Hellís
Kitchen at the rear on your right. Not easy the first time, but well worth the
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