Siam Celadon

By Elle Faraday

According to the Chinese philosopher and tea enthusiast T’ien Yiheng, ‘Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world’. Nowhere is this truer than the oasis of the Siam Celadon and Tea House, on the bustling Thapae Road.
Being from the UK, tea is a passion of mine, to the point of having visitors bring over boxes of my favourite blends from back home. When I have the time, I love to pop around Chiang Mai seeking places to engage in what is one of the more civilised pleasures in life. For a while I had been meaning to visit the renowned Siam Celadon and Tea House and this week I finally made it there for a spot of lunch. The establishment is a wonderful fusion of a colonial style tea parlour and a shop selling traditional Chiang Mai celadon ceramics.
The building, an enchanting painted wooden mansion, is a wonderful reminder of days gone by. You enter the establishment through the ceramic shop and although some of the pieces on display caught my eye I fought against the temptation to browse and went straight through into the tea shop itself.
The tea shop is spacious and stylish and reminded me of the high class tea room you find along Piccadilly in London. I was caught between sitting inside or retiring to the exotic tropical garden bursting with colour and greenery. Eventually I opted to stay inside to savour the atmosphere and watch the comings and goings.
I was drawn to the serving counter which was decorated with fresh orchids and gazed longingly at the glass case displaying cakes and other baked goods. It was lunchtime so I opted for a jumbo chicken pie topped with a wonderful head of puff pastry and a glass of refreshing iced Raming Tea, which incidentally is a local blend grown here in northern Thailand.
My meal was brought by a friendly young waitress who took the time to ensure I had everything I wanted. The tea was superb and a perfect pick-me-up on a hot day. The pie was incredibly tasty with a delicate white and fluffy pastry. I followed up with another glass of tea and a piece of carrot cake from the desserts selection.

The Siam Celadon Tea Shop is one of those wonderful places that you can pop into at any time of the day and always find something to suit your needs. The shop opens at 9 a.m. for breakfast, which they serve all day, and at 55 baht for a continental breakfast and 85 baht for a fry up, its excellent value for money.
For elevenses, there is a large selection of iced teas, coffees and fruit juices, ranging in price from just 35 to 55 baht. The lunch menu is substantial and includes sandwiches, salads, burgers and pies or a Japanese selection. Starting at just 50 baht, you are able to get a substantial lunch whatever your budget.
Afternoon tea is something special. There are a huge range of teas on offer including fruit and herbal teas, Stassen teas imported from Sri Lanka and others from China, India and Japan. The teas are all served in divine celadon ceramic tea sets which are attractive and classy. Unlike in England, jam and scones are not available at tea time but there is a selection of waffles, ice creams, sundaes and sorbets which will surely prove irresistible for the sweet-toothed among us.
What better way to round off a fantastic lunch than with a spot of window shopping? Celadon ware has been produced in this part of the world for as long as 4,000 years and is an important part of the art and crafts culture of Lanna. The pottery features a deep, crackle-glazed finish and comes in green, blue and grey tones.
There was a wide range of pieces on offer which include tea sets (naturally), other kitchenware, crockery and spa and bath products. It was not long before my window shopping went out of the window and I started reaching for my purse. I bought a lovely salad bowl and serving spoon and a great salt and pepper set, but there was so much more that caught my eye. If you like ceramics I strongly recommend you to take a look for yourself.
The Siam Celadon and Tea House can be found at 158 Thapae Road. Telephone 053 234-518/9 or visit their website www.siamceladon.com for more details.