Every person I meet who has left there homeland to settle in
sunny Thailand has their list of the things they miss from home. I’m no
exception. Embarrassingly high on my list were delicious, decadent baked goods.
I had many a craving for hot cinnamon rolls, flaky croissants and moist muffins.
Needless to say I was a happy man on that joyous day six years ago when I
stumbled upon Bake & Bite in a little soi near Thapae Gate. Six years, two new
branches and four waist sizes later I am still a regular customer.
Back then there was just the one little shop, hidden away at the back of
Kotchasan Soi1 and I thought it was my little secret. Well, the secrets out!
Today there are three Bake & Bites and they are still serving up the same high
quality, taste tempting treats that I enjoyed then, only now the variety and
selection are even greater.
For those of you who have been, and you are legion, you know that behind all the
magic is a human dynamo named Gai. In addition to being one of the warmest,
kindest and most friendly individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting in
Chiang Mai, she is also a whirlwind of energy. She miraculously seems to be at
whatever branch I happen to visit. In addition to being hands on in all three
branches she also finds time to supply roughly 7 outside vendors with breads and
bagels and caters everything up to and including full meals with your choice of
Thai or western foods. Somehow she also manages to be cheerful and hospitable at
the same time.
Khun Gai is a highly qualified baker and studied in both Australia and Michigan.
She is keen on providing a healthy menu in addition to the sweets and one can
opt for vegetarian or natural foods which are plentiful on the menu. Personally
I have been on a diet for 5 years and all I’ve lost…is five years. Oh well!
Bake & Bite is well known locally for their very popular Thanksgiving and
Christmas dinners every year as well as doing promotions throughout the year to
celebrate whatever is fresh and in season. On my most recent visit I was
thrilled to see the current avocado promotion and my stomach has fond memories
of the recent California raisin promotion.
Bake & Bite #2 opened on Chiang Klan Road just past the night bazaar in 2004 and
offers two air conditioned dining rooms as well as limited outdoor seating. The
menu is extensive and features an abundance of breakfast treats like waffles,
pancakes, French toast and biscuits and gravy. There are also plenty of
traditional breakfast combinations to choose from and a “create your own
breakfast” area. Lunchtime is chock full of sandwich, salad and soup choices and
of course there is always plenty of cheese cakes, pies and other sweet treats
for dessert. Bike & Bite offers an array of fresh juices, fruit shakes, milk
shakes and teas.
This year Gai had a bit of free time so she opened Bake & Bite #3 on
Nimmanheiman Soi 6. The latest outlet offers the complete menu and features more
outdoor seating than the first two shops. The company seems to grow every three
years or so and Gai has become the undisputed bakery queen of Chiang Mai. The
company has grown from about 5 staff to over 20.
Bake & Bite caters outside events but is also available for in house functions
at both the Changklan and Nimmanhemin branches. Orders can be placed by
telephone at any branch. One days notice is required for cakes and small orders,
and two days for large orders.
Thapae branch is closed on Sunday and open from 7 am to 5 pm the rest of the
week. Call 053 285-185 for information.
Changklan branch is closed on Fridays and open from 7 am to 5 pm Monday through
Saturday and 8 am until 3:30 pm on Sundays. Call 053 820-761 for information.
Nimmanheiman branch is closed on Wednesday and open from 7 am to 5 pm Monday
through Saturday and 7 am to 3:30 pm on Sunday. Call 053 400-577 for
Creamy Oyster Bisque
While many people imagine that soups are a winter item only, this is
incorrect. Soups can be a nourishing meal on their own or a wonderful starter
for the evening meal. This recipe came from Australia and featured the world
famous Sydney Rock Oysters, but any style will do and the recipe as presented
calls for bottled oysters which makes it even easier. The recipe also mentions
Guinness beer, but any of the heavy British brands will do which can be
purchased in cans in Chiang Mai.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the stock in a large saucepan
and add the onion and celery. Cook over low heat until onion is transparent. Add
the Guinness, remaining stock, potato and thyme and cook until potatoes are soft
and most of the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a blender with half of the
oysters, milk and pepper and puree until smooth. Bring back to the boil and
serve immediately with a few oysters placed on top of each dish. Garnish with
Bottled oysters (reserve the liquid)
Fish stock (including water
drained from bottled oysters)
Small white onion diced
Potato peeled and diced
Low fat milk
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish