Red Sun – more than just a restaurant: By Danny B.
Country and Western music - Thai Style
Journalists are not normally lost for
words, but I must confess that I don’t quite know how to
define Tawan Dang (Red Sun), a fun place I visited again
Is it a restaurant? Well yes… they serve decent Thai food
from an extensive menu. Is it a concert venue? They offer
spectacularly good Thai country and western music every
night from a whole host of energetic musicians. Is it a bar?
You’d better believe it (whiskey starts at 275 baht a bottle
and draft beer Singha is around 120 baht a jug). Is it a
disco? Thai style yes, as the evening wears on the dancing
and movement spreads around the tables with customers
mingling and chatting and enjoying the music.
So it is all these things and something more – an authentic,
noisy and vibrant slice of Thai night life which should be
seen and heard at least once since you will be hard put to
find its like in Thailand or elsewhere. The seating capacity
is huge. Last Monday we joined a crowd of perhaps 300 and
there was plenty of room for double that number, possibly
You will find it off Nimmanheiman Road, on the right hand
side (Soi 6) heading from Rimcome junction towards CMU. It’s
about half a kilometer down at the Kad Chuueng Doi market,
which doubles as a huge car and motor bike park in the
evenings surrounded by bars, shops and biggest of all the
brightly lit Tawan Dang country style pub and restaurant.
They open around 7pm but you’ll feel very lonely before 9pm.
They close at 2am.
The menu is almost exclusively Thai, although there’s an odd
section which gives a clue to the character of Red Sun.
Called simply ‘Sausages’, it includes the usual Chiang Mai
varieties and one marked German style. Plus knuckle of pork
(270 baht) and other dishes aimed at those who would feel at
home in a Bier Keller. So there you have it, a Thai version
of a Munich beer hall – except that here the customers are
Some of the food is illustrated, the extensive drinks menu
and some pages are in English so you should not have any
trouble ordering. But going with some Thai friends will
double your pleasure and help you to adjust to the special
atmosphere. There are plenty of appetizers should you just
want to turn up late and use it as a bar with snacks, which
include cashew nuts and French fries, chicken wings (110
baht) and Thai fish cakes and other easy to eat offerings.
There is an attractive salad section including Morning Glory
and Wing Bean salads among others at between 100 and 150
baht. Stir fried vegetable in oyster sauce or in batter.
After that the sky is the limit with plenty of soups, some
arriving in metal containers with candles below so that the
raw side vegetables can be added as you wish. Similarly a
delicious steamed fresh water fish came in a similar
container with a spicy sauce.
There is a slight bias towards the south of the Kingdom, but
the food is mainly conventional Thai, plentifully and
quickly served. It is not - I must be honest - the main
reason for going.
You go for the experience. Red Sun is just that. With its
huge portraits of ‘revolutionaries’ including Marx and John
Lennon adorning the walls and a 12 strong band it seeks to
be a show place, a bar, a dance hall, an eatery with an
atmosphere that is totally unthreatening. Adapt to the noise
level and sit back and enjoy.
We went as a group for a birthday party and the cost for
some 25 people with plenty of food and more than an ample
sufficiency of drinks, alcoholic and soft came to just
10.000 baht or 400 a person taking into account a 15%
discount for cash rather than a credit card. Not your every
day place so next week a review of another restaurant in the
same area which is both conventional and exceptional.
Grilled Japanese Chicken
This is a traditional Japanese dish (Yakitori), but all the ingredients are
available here, even the sake. The chicken is BBQ’d several times, with steeping
in a marinade in between. The sugar and ginger gives the chicken a very
different taste, almost caramelizing the outer surface. You can select large
chicken thighs, or even skinless chicken breasts and make it closer to a grilled
chicken satay (gai yang), Japanese style.
Wash chicken thighs, wipe dry and insert skewers along
the bone. Or if using chicken breast, make 12 skewers from bite-sized pieces.
Cook over a charcoal BBQ or under the grill until partially cooked.
Mix sake, soya sauce and sugar and pour into a wide flat bowl. Lay chicken
skewers in the marinade for five minutes, then turn over and leave for another
Return to the BBQ and cook for two minutes each side. Then return to the
marinade and repeat the marinade process. Now complete the final BBQ grilling
while brushing the remaining marinade over the chicken, to produce a dark shiny
glaze. Sprinkle with the powdered ginger.
Shred the cucumber and sprinkle with salt and serve the chicken skewers on small
plates and garnish each with a mound of cucumber.
or Chicken breast fillet
Dark soya sauce
Salt to taste