For that romantic evening let half a dozen minstrels serenade
you and your loved one with soft country music at Baanrai Yarmyen. This rambling
wooden restaurant, set among a mini forest of twisted tree trunks and
overhanging branches, provides a rustic ambiance and traditional northern Thai
Thread your way through the foliage to a table by the lily
pond, fountain, stream or waterfall, glowing in restful illumination; where the
melody won’t drown the sweet talk and lovers can watch the reflection of
candlelight dance in each other’s eyes.
Music is one of the main ingredients of this popular eatery,
with a style that ranges from Lanna to bluegrass. The show starts at around 6.30
nightly, when talented singers are accompanied by guitar, mandolin, double bass
and banjo, played by a band of gifted instrumentalists.
Baanrai Yarmyen is not just a place for lovers to meet. Its
soothing surroundings and entertainment complement a thrilling menu, which
attracts families, friends and even royalty. The service here is cordial, fast
and efficient, and the food delicious.
Apart from the usual northern Thai favourites such as som
tam, gang hung lay, laab and sticky rice, adventurous gastronomes can move into
uncharted waters by ordering a portion of rot duan – bamboo worms; mang man –
flying ants; or kied tod – deep fried jumping frog.
Or why not start with a jiew kai mod nam – a northern style
soup with red ant eggs – followed by kob tod kra tiam priktai – deep fried frog
with garlic and pepper, served in a special sauce?
I sat with my wife, Nong, near a dimly lit Lanna-style water
mill, which tapped away like a very slow heartbeat, and ordered gingerly with a
safe chicken curry and cooked ground pork with herbs. But the grinning waitress
said that we should go for the barbecued bee nest in banana leaf, and how could
Having got our feet wet, we pushed out the boat and asked for
kang pak waan – a vegetable curry with ant eggs. Nong informed me that the
noodles in the dish were part of a test. Their failure to soften during the
cooking process would mean that some of the vegetables could be inedible. But of
course ours were okay.
For drinks, there is a reasonably large selection of
alcoholic beverages, and I chose beer, while Nong picked avocado and passion
fruit from an exotic list of juices.
Baanrai Yarmyen is not the kind of place you want to rush
away from, so while we listened to the music, we sipped our drinks and nibbled
our desserts – Nong with mixed cereal and ginger and I had conventional ice
cream. Among other sweet delights, coconut jelly dumplings and taro in black
sesame, both in coconut milk, were also on offer.
After paying a bill of just under Bt500, Nong and I left
Baanrai Yarmyen feeling we had not only experienced delightful food and very
good entertainment, but also a gastronomical expedition.
Baanrai Yarmyen can be found at 14 Moo 3, Jaroenraj Road, Tambon Faham,
Amphur Muang, Chiang Mai 50000. Contact by telephone on 053 247999, 053 244796,
fax on 053 852519 or email Baanrai14@gmail.com. The kitchen is open from 11 am