Vol. VI No. 17 - Tuesday
June 19, - June 25, 2007
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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


DINING OUT - KHUN OCHA'S COOKBOOK & ENTERTAINMENT

A Thai meal, a song and maybe a dance: By Penelope Plaine

Plern Thai Restaurant

The Plern is a cozy, well run restaurant located in the lobby of Hillside Condo 4 on Huay Kaew Road. It is owned and operated by Khun Too, retired from the Chiang Mai University faculty and his wife, Khun Nong, a present member of the Chiang Mai University faculty.

 Since Khun Too retired from the university, he has been able to pursue his several hobbies. He is a builder of fine guitars, a musician, a portrait photographer, and, of course, a restaurateur. All of these hobbies are evident in the restaurant. The décor is a variety of art works displayed in paneled alcoves, sometimes joined by one of Khun Too’s latest guitars. The art changes often. Sometimes there are photographs, sometimes there are paintings, but all are done by friends and customers of The Plern. There are always fresh flowers scattered throughout the dining room, as well as on each table. There is a stage where piano or organ with vocals in English and Thai music is performed every night, beginning at 7:00p.m By 8:00p.m., there are two or three more guitars, a trumpet, drums and a female vocalist who loves to sing tunes by the Carpenters. As the evenings wear on, guests will get up on the stage, make a request for music and sing their favorite songs, as well. Mr. Too always makes an appearance on stage at some point to play his guitar and sing a few songs. The music is pleasant for listening and not too loud for conversation, which is a plus. Anyone who wants to bring an instrument or to sing is more than welcome to add to an evening. If you want to dance, there is enough space in front of the stage to let yourself go.

While Khun Too is handling the entertainment and keeping the guests jolly, Khun Nong is working quietly in the background to keep things happening in the proper manner. She sees that the food arrives hot and promptly, and the ‘checkbill’ is prepared when requested. They make a good team and in addition, they have an excellent and eager staff that has been with them since the restaurant’s inception several years ago.
The menu is a mixture of mostly Thai food with a smattering of Western food, so there is something to please everyone at the table. The Chiang Mai sausage appetizer (85 baht), one of my favorites, is especially good and made by the Plern kitchen. It is made with just the right amount of spiciness for either Thai or Western tongues and is served with generous amounts of fresh, chopped garlic, shallots, ginger, peanuts and fresh coriander (cilantro). We tried an unusual and very tasty appetizer of Ta bong, or deep fried pumpkin (75 baht). This plate resembles orange French fries piled around a bowl of sweet chili dipping sauce. The deep fried squid stuffed with shrimp (90 baht) were such a delicious surprise that we couldn’t get enough!
The Thai food on the menu consisted of several curries including a sumptuous green curry with pork, beef or chicken (85-90 baht). There is pad thai (50-60 baht), chicken, pork or shrimp fried rice (40-50 baht), as well as Japanese sukiyaki (45-55 baht). We couldn’t try every dish this time but each dish we did try didn’t disappoint us. If you are looking for Western food, you will find a delicious onion soup (45-60 baht), fish and chips or chicken and chips (140 baht), salmon steak (240 baht), and tenderloin steak (150 baht) to mention just a few items. We found the fish to have a nice crispy crust on a tender white fish, done to perfection and not at all over cooked. Dinner for two with drinks can be had for about 500baht, more or less, depending on the two involved.
The Plern serves beer, wine and mixed drinks. Kuhn Too and Kuhn Nong are also very adept at special dinners and parties at reasonable prices. I have been to two private parties and one catered party planned and supplied by The Plern. They were all very impressive with a grand choice of food. If a party is booked in the restaurant, there is no extra charge for the music which plays every night.
Plern Thai Restaurant, Hillside Condo 4 Lobby, 50 Huay Kaew Rd. Open 11:00-2:00pm and 5:30pm-Midnight. 053-404-817 or 0530225-944 ext.2248


Japanese Omelet

Go to work on an egg used to be a slogan that caught the imagination of everyone. Egg, and omelet, is practically universal, but each country has its own subtle way in taste and presentation. This is the Japanese way.

Cooking Method
Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat till thoroughly mixed. Now add chicken stock, sake, sugar and light soy sauce and stir into the eggs. Pour into a measuring jug.
Lightly oil a rectangular pan, and then pour in one third of the omelet mixture and spread the mixture evenly over the surface. Cook gently until set and then roll up and put aside.
Re-oil the pan, add another third of the original volume in the jug and cook as before. Now place the first rolled up omelet in the pan and roll the second omelet around the first and put aside.
Re-oil the pan and with the remaining mixture, cook and then roll up this third omelet around the first two.
Remove and let sit for 10 minutes, then cut into thick slices, sprinkle with the dark soy, and even some chopped coriander and serve on two plates.

Ingredients                                        Serves 2
Eggs                                                       8
Chicken stock                                          200 ml
Sake                                                       4 tspns
Sugar                                                      1 tspn
Light soy sauce                                       4 tspns
Sunflower oil                                            3 tbspns
Salt                                                        1 pinch
Dark soy sauce                                       4 drops garnish



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