Hong Tauw and other favorites

Gina Hahn
A few weeks ago a European chef who is new in town asked about my favorite Thai restaurants and my favorite Thai dishes. It was easy to answer him. I know you have favorites, too, but here are mine and I hope you enjoy them. I love Dr. Noodle on Nimmanhemin Soi 17. This is lunchtime food, with every dish you can think of that can be quickly prepared and served to hungry diners with limited time. Itís clean, tasty, and meets the real doctorís standards for good, home cooked food. Most of the seating is open air but under fans. There are two air-conditioned rooms available also.
I also love Faham Road Khao Soi, an unassuming little place thatís been here forever serving tasty and spicy khao soi to locals, tourists and Royalty alike. The combination of tender meat and crunchy fried noodles with spicy coconut milk is incredible. I know people who live in Bangkok and wonít eat anywhere else when they come to Chiang Mai. Fast, good service, delicious khao soi and hot coconut waffles for dessert. Yum. Look at all of the family photos when youíre there. Thereís one of the owner when he was a motorcycle policeman over 50 years ago in Bangkok. Of course, the whole family works to keep the customers served and happy. Parking across the street.
That leads me back to Charoenrat Road and My Home, which serves chicken curry Burmese style with roti and a bowl of sweet and spicy cucumber salad. The curry is only slightly spicy, but filled with the flavors of herbs that are brought from Mae Hong Son once a month. The chicken is exquisitely tender; the cucumber salad a wonderful contrast to the flavors of the curry, and the roti is used to mop up all of the fabulous sauce. Air conditioned as well as open-air seating is available. Limited parking in the rear.
You may want to wander over to Aroon Rai on the klong near Thapae Gate, and dip a spoon into the best Thai chicken and potato curry in town. Have a small basket of sticky rice to go with it; you wonít want to leave a drop of the sauce. Add fried shrimp or pork with garlic, and ask for their wonderful homemade condiment Ė a sauce with three flavors. Itís great for dipping the rice, or simply spooned lightly over the seafood or meat. Lightly is the word here. This amazing sauce is spicy! If you love partially boned fried fish, they serve fresh tilapia that just begs for this nice sauce. Open air seating with fans and a large parking area in the rear.
Hong Tauw Inn
on Nimmanhemin across from the Amari Rincome Hotel is another old, established Thai restaurant. The perfect menu is waiting for you there. I had a course in Hong Tauw Inn, which my instructor laughingly referred to as Nimmanhemin 101, shortly after I arrived in Chiang Mai eight years ago. Begin with the basil seed and minced pork soup, light and delicately flavored. Then you add the pomelo salad, a sweet and spicy combination of pomelo accented with roasted coconut, topped with peppers and dressed with a tamarind sauce. Donít forget to order deep fried northern Thai sausage. This incredible dish arrives with squares of battered and deep fried sausage on a plate filled with sliced ginger, crisp green onions, sliced lime, hot chili peppers, crunchy peanuts and the perfect contrasting flavor Ė fresh cilantro. Squeeze the lime over the sausage, and pop a piece of sausage into your mouth with a healthy sprig of cilantro. The Dining Out team has never found this exact dish on another menu, and highly recommends it. Shrimp fried rice with fresh pineapple is the perfect rice to round out the menu. The sweet pineapple is fresh and crisp in contrast to the other ingredients. The fried rice at Hong Tauw Inn is priced from 50 to 60 baht, mild soups are 60 baht, the pomelo salad is 60 baht, and the deep fried northern Thai sausage is 90 baht. The Inn also offers a good selection of homemade ice cream, and a variety of traditional Thai desserts. Enjoy!