‘Farang’ – A new restaurant on Canal Road:  By Harvey John

Also, a round-up of recent visits with visiting friends

Firstly, news of a new eating place on Canal Road (head up Huay Kaew Road and turn right at the traffic lights into Canal Road – it is 200 metres on the left), called, rather unappetizingly, Farang, and boasting a menu of Thai, Italian and other European dishes. It might not seem your first choice for a gastronomic stop but the Mail’s intrepid cameraman cajoled me and two other friends into giving it a try after this successful visit a few days previously. The good news is that – despite his cigarette consumption – his taste buds have not been totally ruined and the food was very tasty.
It also arrived as ordered, was piping hot and attractively presented. I say “arrived as ordered,” since we opted for starters and, wonder of wonders, they came first. The grilled vegetables were fine, colourful and just al dente. The baked eggplant had some decent cheese grilled on top. And the best came in the plentiful dish of (very) spicy squid, which was tender and succulent. It was the best food served that evening and suggests that Thai food might be the best option here.
However, we opted for the farang menu and only the grilled lamb chops were considered ‘somewhat chewy.’ Personally, I would never order such a dish outside of a top class restaurant where they would be imported and expensive. We three others fared better with seared duck with salad and a mammoth side order of French fries, a dish of minced pork in a crepe on mashed potatoes and – for me – beer battered fish and more of those ‘chips,’ served with an aioli mayonnaise.
The choice of desserts was very limited and hardly needed but we went for a large slice of chocolate cake which was moist and not too sweet. This and ‘my’ order of vanilla ice cream were happily shared. Three of us drank Singha beers and one had a ‘decent’ glass of red wine. The bill with a tip came to exactly 500 baht each and, considering the alcohol, was not too expensive. Portions were average size and the service pleasant and attentive. The downside is the location on a rather busy road and the over-bright lighting which gives the large space a slightly utilitarian air. It will be interesting to see if yet another restaurant survives the economic down turn. At least the chef should never be out of a job.
Points out of 40
Two friends, Chris, a seasoned Chiang Mai visitor, and Nick, a newcomer to Thailand, were recently here for a couple of weeks. We did all the usual ‘ings’ – walking, sightseeing, exploring, ‘watting’, etc, and, of course, eating. During 16 evenings we tried 14 restaurants – predominantly Thai – with only one real disappointment. Two were visited twice – Krit’s Nimmen Kitchen on the first night because of its proximity to base at Hillside 4, and later in a party of ten Thais and seven farangs, for which Krit catered excellently. We also went twice to D2, once for the normal (getting pricey!) menu, which was greatly enjoyed and, on their last evening, back to Moxies for the Peruvian buffet which, thanks to good quality ad lib wine, was terrific value. Too many places to detail, so I have simply listed them with four numbers each. The first is for food, the second for service, third for atmosphere and the last for value – a difficult one since it has to make allowances for the ‘style’ of the venue. Some of them we tried alone, others with Thai or farang friends. It proved once again that Chiang Mai has some of the best eating places anywhere in Thailand. The list is in date order.
Krit’s Nimmen Kitchen (8/8/6/8: 30); Maze 1 (6/6/6/7: 25); St Germain des Pres (6/6/6/6: 24); D2 (8/9/8/6: 31); Bang Rai Yang Yem (8/8/8/7: 31); Ney Ney (8/8/9/8: 33); Casablanca (7/6/5/6: 24); Mo’C Mo’L (7/7/8/8: 30); Krit’s – group (8/8/8/8: 32); Maze2 (6/6/6/7: 25); The Green Mill (8/8/5/7: 28); Samsen Villa (7/5/5/7: 24); Chiang Dao Nest ( 8/7/8/7: 30); Kantary (6/6/6/6: 24); Moxies at D2 – Peruvian Buffet (8/8/9/9: 34).
This is a very subjective listing, with one omitted, and takes into account personal circumstances to a slight degree, but the overall totals are, I believe, fair and reflect previous visits to some restaurants. I have rounded up rather than down.


Moo pad bai krapow (pork with basil)

Another very traditional Thai recipe and one that is easy for any home cook. A true ‘wok’ dish, it has a tantalizing flavor that comes from the combination of so many items. By the way, it is important to crush the garlic and chilli together and this is best with a mortar and pestle. As usual, if this is a little hot for your taste, you can reduce the amount of chilli and remember to remove the seeds! You can also substitute chicken for pork.

Cooking Method
Crush the garlic and chilli together in the mortar and pestle. Add oil to the wok and heat quickly and add pounded garlic and chilli to the oil and fry quickly. Now add the sliced pork and stir fry until cooked (do not overcook). Add the onion and the capsicum until cooked, followed by the sugar, fish sauce and oyster sauce. Finally, add the basil leaf and stir for one minute and then serve with steamed rice.

Ingredients                  Serves 4-6 
Sliced pork loin               500 gms
Onion sliced                   200 gms
Red capsicum                100 gms
Green capsicum             100 gms
Basil leaf (chopped)         5-6
Garlic                             2 cloves
Chilli (red)                       3-4
Vegetable oil                   4 tbspns
Fish sauce (Tiparos)        4 tbspns
Sugar                             1 tbspn
Oyster sauce                  1 tbspn