A delicious meal at the River Ping Palace
Having eaten several times at the River Ping
Palace, this was an easy choice for my first column. The
restaurant is situated on the banks on the Ping River,
on Charoen Prathet Road, diagonally opposite the Holiday
Inn. There are several restaurants along this stretch of
the river and the River Ping Palace is easily recognized
by the distinctive red Chinese lanterns on the road (and
on the river bank itself).
The restaurant itself is part of a unique guest house
consisting of various old teak buildings. The owner and
hostess, a lady of Chinese-Singaporean heritage called
Esther Ting, explained to us that the complex is over
100 years old. It is easy to see that she has spent many
loving hours assembling a selection of art from around
the world and from Chiang Mai which reflects her
personality and makes this one of the most romantic
settings along the river.
The cuisine is mainly Thai, with a smattering of Western
and Chinese influences. Our small group of four decided
to go ‘Thai style’ and choose several dishes to share
between us. We started with appetizers. A specialty of
the house is the ‘Mae Mode Chom Ngam’ which translates
to “witch on a broom” and consists of fried minced
prawns wrapped around stalks of lemon grass, 3 sticks
(150 baht). This is the only restaurant I have found
which serves this delicious appetizer. We also ordered
‘Pik Gai Yak Sai’ – 2 boneless savoury and crunchy
chicken wings stuffed with seasonal fresh vegetables and
shitake mushrooms (150 baht). Garlicky and tangy hummus
served with fresh home-made foccacia is a recent and
very welcome addition to the menu (100/200 baht). The
spinach and bacon salad was ‘to die for’ and we licked
the bowl clean (150 baht).
I love ‘Gang Hung Lay’ so I had to try it here, it’s a
Northern pork ginger curry dish, stewed for 4 hours (150
baht). Having had this dish at several restaurants, I
consider myself quite an expert – and I was not
disappointed – the pork was extremely tender, cooked to
perfection and not too spicy one of the ladies in the
group selected the ‘Tod Kratium’ which is a deep fried
Ruby fish with crispy garlic (250 baht). This
scrumptious fish came with a trio of sauces; plum, three
spices and sweet chilli sauce.
Our group consumed every crumb of the absolutely
delicious (and essential on every visit) fresh mango
cheesecake – a steal at 100 baht per serving.
The restaurant boasts a well-stocked bar, offering beer
Singha (120 baht), Margaritas (200 baht) and Vodka with
Crème de Cassis (150 baht). However, one of our group
was a wine connoisseur – he chose an excellent bottle of
Sangre de Toro 2006 from the Familia Torres vineyard
priced at 950 baht – amazing value (check out the local
supermarkets if you don’t believe me!).
The service was attentive, and the head waiter spoke
excellent English. The whole evening cost 650 baht per
person including a large tip. This is definitely a place
not to be missed, especially when entertaining guests
from out of town. It is also an ideal romantic setting
for that special anniversary. Reservations are
recommended, please call on 053-274-932.
Balinese Fried Rice
Here is something a little different from the usual Asian
fried rice. The garlic and chillies will give this a little more zing than
standard fried rice, but remember that the degree of spiciness is under the
control of the cook! The secret with all fried rice is to use the boiled rice
left over from yesterday which has been stored in the fridge.
Heat the margarine in the wok and add the onions until they
change color. Add the ham strips and garlic and stir-fry
quickly and then add the chilli sauce and the chopped spring
Now break up the cold boiled rice and slowly add to the
work, letting the rice warm up without burning.
When the rice is thoroughly warmed through, add the prawns,
soy sauce and fish sauce and continue stirring until the
prawns are also hot.
Serve in a warmed dish and sprinkle with the scrambled egg
and finally garnish with the tomato slices.
Ingredients Serves 4
margarine 4 tbspns
Onion, coarsely chopped 2
Cooked ham in thin strips 225 gm
Garlic, finely chopped 1 clove
Chilli sauce 1 tbspn
Spring onions, chopped 4
Cold, dry boiled rice 225 gm
Prawns, small peeled 225 gm
Soy sauce 1 tbspn
Fish sauce 1 tbspn
Scrambled eggs 4
Peeled tomatoes, sliced