Enter a comfort zone at Comedara
: By Farrah Praisal
With moderate prices, good quality and an attention to detail, Comedara is a good value and a good neighborhood choice for Thai food.
One would imagine that living in Thailand
I would for the most part visit Thai restaurants the
majority of the time. Because I have always been one who
needs variety in dining and because Chiang Mai happily
offers such a wide variety of cuisines and restaurants, this
is not the case. Having been fortunate enough to grow up in
a family who loved to dine out almost nightly I grew
accustomed to pretty much never having the same style of
food two nights in a row and I have maintained that habit
through the years.
are actually only a handful of Thai restaurants that I visit
semi-regularly and Comedara is one of them. Located in an
old colonial home, the series of dining rooms has a
well-worn charm that includes an impressive bar and ethnic
art on the walls. The home I am told is about 80 years old
and used to belong to Chinese tax collectors. There is a
bank sized wall safe that the owners claim has not been
opened for years and it adds a bit of mystery to the venue.
I have imagined all sorts of things in there and hopefully
someday curiosity will get the better of them and we will
discover its contents.
Additions have been made to accommodate both outdoor diners
as well as a stage where very competent musical groups play
nightly from 7 to 11 p.m. One of the things I like about
this place is that the music is not deafening like some of
the other river restaurants and you can actually hold a
conversation and enjoy the music at the same time. You are
encouraged at Comedara to fill out request slips for the
band and on one visit I attempted to challenge them by
writing some favorites from my youth like Lynard Skynard and
Pink Floyd. I was pleasantly surprised when they
successfully and joyfully dove into “Free Bird”, “Sweet Home
Alabama: and “Wish you were here”.
staff is friendly and efficient, and they go out of their
way to accommodate diners. Language is not a problem and the
captain, Mister Mix, is very capable of recommending and
describing the dishes for you. It takes a while to work your
way through the extensive menu and this is probably the only
downside to the restaurant. Reading through the multi-page
menu, which includes “Grandmothers favorites’’ a section of
“Chefs recommendations ‘’ and another area of “Northern Thai
Food” can be confusing. Dining shouldn’t be this
challenging. A lot of editing and a keener attention to
details would put Comedara on top.
Appetizers are plentiful. I’ve had the pork wrapped in
wonton skins (80 baht) at several places, but they’re done
right here so the shell is thin and crisp and the pork is
warm and moist. It’s served with a honey dipping sauce. I
also enjoy the vegetarian corn cakes at 60 baht. Lacy veils
of crisp batter hug each kernel of sweet corn, exploding as
you bite into them. They are best at the burn-your-tongue
temperature, especially with the cool, vinegary cucumber
salad served alongside.
You get the same celebration of tastes and textures with the
many curries on offer. They come accompanied by traditional
roti bread and they are delicious. When your waiter asks you
whether you want things mild, medium or hot, if you say
“hot” it might be the last word you utter for a while.
Unless you are a true chili lover go for mild or medium.
There is a wide variety of soups and I seem to gravitate
towards those on the Northern Thai food area of the menu. My
favorite is cucumber stuffed with chopped pork soup. Cored
out pieces of cucumber stuffed with seasoned pork in a
clear, savory broth is a nice combination. The kitchen
offers many fish dishes and on my last visit I found the
deep fried catfish with turmeric (80 baht) interesting but
slightly difficult to eat around the bones. Simple vegetable
dishes like fried local spinach with oyster sauce or Chinese
black mushrooms round out a nice meal.
I am curious why a venue lucky enough to be located along
the river does not utilize the riverside but perhaps that is
a future endeavor. All in all I think Khun Noi does a
wonderful job and with so many good dishes and reasonable
prices, Comedara is sure to remain a draw in the Chiang Mai
dining scene. Be sure to have a peek upstairs at the art and
sculpture in the gallery.
Comedara is located at 193 Charoenrat Road directly opposite
La Luna Gallery. Additional parking is located in the rear.
Fried and Braised Eggplant (Aubergine)
This is a Japanese recipe, but it is applicable anywhere, especially European
food. The Japanese serve this as one course, while with other cuisines it is
thought of as an accompaniment.
Rinse the eggplants, slice lengthways then cut into 1
In the wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle in a few drops of chilli oil.
Add around three slices of eggplant and fry on both sides, for a total of around
6 minutes. Remove from the wok and drain. Continue frying with more eggplant
until all are fried.
Add chicken stock to the wok and bring to the boil. Add sake (or sherry), sugar
and soy sauce. Add the eggplant slices, cover the wok and simmer for 10 minutes.
After this remove the cover and simmer for another 5 minutes, allowing the
liquid to reduce.
For Japanese cooking, serve the eggplant slices in separate bowls and pour a
little of the hot liquid over them.
For European cooking, place the eggplant on the side with a small amount of hot
liquid poured over them. Goes well with steak.
Ingredients Serves 4
Eggplant 2 large (or 4
Japanese dark soy sauce 4 tbspns
Sake (or dry sherry) 1