Recession Restaurant Reviews
Som Tam Pot – or something like that…
The problem, of course, is that the name and
menu is all in Thai, a little unusual for a café in a
Chiang Mai shopping mall! So – here’s how to find it… Go
to Central, Kad Suan Kaew, and look for Uncle Sam’s
(formally Mikes Burgers) on the ground floor at the
back…just behind the food hall. Right opposite, you’ll
see Som Tam Pot…all white tables and chairs with a big
circular mirror at the back.
You will probably be given a menu in English. For a safe
option to try the place out, the different Som Tams are
all delicious, the regular version costing 30 baht. My
favourite is the grilled chicken on a stick at 15 baht.
Stir-fried rice with chicken is 40 baht. If you can
suppress feelings of guilt, try the deep fried sticky
rice balls at 10 baht – fantastic! Despite these budget
prices, you will be served a free pot of raw cabbage,
French beans and lettuce. The staff are very good, but
all seem optically impaired when you wave at them for a
menu, the bill or whatever! The food makes it – no need
to save money by skipping lunch here! Highly recommended
for an interesting, very tasty (and very cheap) lunch.
The second budget venue we tried is also in a shopping
mall – this time at Airport Plaza. Nippon Ramen is
particularly convenient if you are heading off to see a
This Japanese noodle speciality restaurant is new to the
mall, adjacent to the Tops food hall, and is
astoundingly good value. Seats are arranged around the
cooking area; you just place your order and watch your
food being freshly prepared from behind a glass screen.
I’m no expert on everyday Japanese food, so have no idea
if the food is authentically Japanese. I suspect not,
but the ingredients are fresh, the cooking fast and the
If you don’t fancy sitting on the bar stools, the
waitress will bring your meal over to you in the food
hall, or even to the adjacent coffee shop! A large plate
of crispy noodles with seafood (including octopus) and
vegetables is 79 baht. Sushi is also good, and at very
reasonable prices. Another favourite is Japanese pork
curry with rice. Service is quick and efficient and all
the portions are large. As a result, comparing this new
café with a food-hall dish at 40 baht, I would say
Nippon Ramen is better value for money.
The third on the list is rated as ‘one of the best value
restaurants in Chiang Mai!’
Khamin, named after a Thai herb, is on Nimmanhaeminda
Road, Soi 5, and has a very new and modern dining room
with free Wi-Fi. You can also eat outside in the quiet
garden. We ordered a Pad Thai Moo and a Khao Soy Kie –
result – quick service and good sized portions. My
companion said it was one of the best Khao Soy Kie she
had ever had, then added something about ‘the waiter not
being too bad either!’ We had separate bowls of
cucumber, lime wedges, bean sprouts, chives, pickled
cabbage, shallots and peanuts. We also had a bottle of
water and a nam manau each. I would not have batted an
eyelid at 250 baht but the bill came to 100 baht! The
restaurant has no desserts in the menu as yet, but they
now do fresh coffee and home made cookies.
We should support this place, for 4 excellent
reasons…the food is superb, the prices are incredible,
the ambiance is mellow and the waiter is good-looking!
Once a year, chefs can let their hair down, and I am always
happy to oblige them with some space in this column. This year it is Peking
Duck, so with your chopper at the ready, and the duck awaiting. Let’s begin…
A couple go for a meal at a Chinese
restaurant and order the Chicken Surprise. After a little
while, the waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded cast
Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the
pot rises slightly and she briefly sees two beady little
eyes looking around before the lid slams back down.
“Good grief, did you see that?” she asks her husband. He had
not, so she asked him to look in the pot. He reaches for it
and again the lid rises, and he also sees two beady little
eyes looking around before it slams down.
Rather perturbed, he calls the waiter over, explains what is
happening, and demands an explanation.
“Prease sir,” said the waiter, “what you order?”
The husband replied, “Chicken Surprise.”
“Ah! So solly,” said the waiter, “I bling you Peeking Duck!”