Dalaabaa - A Stylish Thai Restaurant: By Brian Baxter
A place to see - and be seen
There’s no point pretending that most
tourists, long term visitors or even farang residents in
Thailand are used to - or want - the hot, spicy food which
Thais traditionally eat. Personally, I do, but the phrases
‘not too spicy’ or ‘mai ped, krab’, are those I hear more
than most uttered in the Kingdom. That should not mean a
diminution of either flavor or taste, still less of quality.
And that’s where successful restaurants such as Dalaabaa
come into their own.
This stylish, Lanna orientated eating place offers an
exclusively Thai menu, but there’s little exotic or off
putting to squeamish westerners. No chicken’s entrails, pork
belly or spicy boiled frog, let alone - as I was recently
offered - live insects battered into unconsciousness by the
energetic shaking of the dish in which they were held. Nor a
surfeit of those sneaky little red or green chili which have
been know to silence even the Mail’s photographer for
a few minutes.
Their menu offers a large range of dishes, including those
such as a (spicy) shrimp salad with green mango (130 baht)
which are skewed towards flavor rather than pungency. To
balance the opinion of the cameraman and reviewer, I took
along a Thai friend. He too enjoyed the meal.
We selected three starters and two main dishes, plus stir
fried vegetables (80 baht) and steamed rice (15 baht a
portion). In Thai fashion we ended up with all the food on
the table at the same time. Luckily the tables are large.
Two of the starters were recommended by the waitress: the
Dalabite shrimps rolled with salmon (120 baht), which came
with a welcome chili sauce and the ‘special’ spring rolls
(95 baht). Plus the tuna salad, from which I have dropped
the word spicy, with its particularly generous serving of
For the mains, Nong selected a deep fried Talapia fish with
Thai herbs. These dishes are priced according to weight at
between 170 and 250 baht, and I would guess from the large
serving plate, piled high with the pre cut fillets that this
was an adult. The second selection was stir fried asparagus
with shrimps and that was a highlight with a generous
portion of that most delicious of all vegetables (130 baht).
We each downed a couple of beer Singh and certainly could
not find room for anything from the small but tempting
dessert menu, which offered such sweet temptations as deep
fried banana with honey, coconut milk ice cream (80 baht) or
the various fresh fruits in syrup (60 baht).
There were plenty of choices to be made from the well laid
out menu. No less than 22 salads, a whole page of starters,
including deep fried mushrooms in soy sauce, various fancier
fish dishes including red snapper and salmon (250 baht up)
and simpler offerings such as stir fried rice dishes
beginning at 70 baht. Our total bill, including drinks and a
tip, came to 1400 baht for the three.
The restaurant is quite large, dividing sensibly into two
areas. An air-conditioned room, with about 60 covers, which
leads to a large, partially covered terrace, offering
perhaps a further 70 to 80 seats. Smoking is allowed there
so Mr. Cameraman headed us in that direction and we found
the pleasant background music aided and abetted by cicadas.
None on the menu, though. We were told that there were also
two private dining rooms.
As mentioned the tables are large and well spaced and are
covered in bright red cloths, with the color echoed
throughout including the outdoor parasols. Service is very
efficient, if impersonal.
The restaurant has become well established over the past
three years and is situated in the same street as the
British Consulate and British Council offices and just
across a bridge from the American Consulate. It is one of
several eateries popular with ‘locals’ from the area and
certainly knows how to cater for them and their guests.
There were few Thais on the busy night we were there, but my
friend was impressed to note that among them was a film
actor and singing star, complete with entourage. Obviously
then a place to see, as well as been seen.
Dalaabaa Restaurant 113 Burmungras Road, Watgate, Chiang
Mai, 50000. Tel: 053 242 491.
Crab and herb omelette
This is an Indonesian dish known as ‘Telor dadar kepiting dan bumbu kebun’,
but crab and herb omelette is easier. The herb is the Thai coriander and crab is
easily found, and you can use tinned crab for this dish.
Cut the crabmeat into small pieces, being careful to
remove any shell. Mix with the chopped coriander and sprinkle salt and pepper to
Lightly whisk the eggs, and add salt and pepper, sugar, ginger root and water.
In the wok, heat 2 tbspns of sunflower oil, and add half the egg mixture. Spoon
on half the crab and herb mixture and cook slowly until the top of the omelette
has cooked. Slide the ‘pancake’ off the wok.
Now cook the second half of the omelette mixture the same way.
Roll up the two flat omelettes and cut the roll diagonally into 2.5 cm strips,
and serve on a warmed plate.
Coriander, finely chopped 2 tbspns
Ground ginger root
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper to taste