Tsunami; popular Japanese
Restaurant and Sushi Bar:
by Mark Whitman
Given the large number of Japanese living in Chiang Mai, it
is no surprise that they are well catered for in terms of
restaurants and other necessities of life – including golf.
There is even a golf equipment shop named The Samurai
opposite Central, Kad Suan Kaew and many people, not just
Japanese, will have enjoyed the recent Lanna- Japanese
Go, too, into the Ring Ping Supermarket near Airport Plaza
(and incidentally the Japanese consulate and the Far Eastern
University) and you will find a mouth watering range of
Japanese food, not to mention a fabulous selection of Sake.
Just how many restaurants there are in Chiang Mai offering
their cuisine I don’t know but they range from the little
hole in the wall variety through to the plush Tengoku de
Cuisine with everything in between, including several in
Airport Plaza alone. If you locate a copy of the Dining
Guide (available free and updated every two months) there is
centre page spread and map showing some 35 places, nearly
half of which are concentrated in the Huay Kaew Road area.
There is even one on the ground floor of the Condotel in
which I live, a building very popular with the Japanese,
many of whom seem inseparable from their golf bags.
Although I’ve enjoyed three (working) visits to that
extraordinary country, I would certainly not claim to be any
sort of authority on either their food or culture, and like
many people I lapse into the usual clichés: one that it will
be expensive, second that it is based around sushi, tempura
and fish (plus expensive steak) and third that it is famous
for freshness and quality. Like all such generalizations
there is some truth behind them. But it certainly does not
need to be expensive, nor does it begin and end with those
moreish sushi. True, freshness and quality ingredients are
crucial but then this is true of all food, although with
some national foods this may be ‘compensated’ for by very
slow cooking and diligent use of strong spices and
Having said all the above I might as well contradict one
assumption: namely that these many restaurants actually
cater for the Japanese ex-pats and long term visitors. In
fact Japanese food is immensely popular with Thais and the
restaurant under review is packed with locals. On my most
recent visit (with a Thai) I was, I think, the only farang
there and there seemed to be less than a handful of Japanese
in the whole place.
Tsunami has expanded considerably over the past couple of
years and at around 8p.m. you may even have to wait a short
while to get a table, despite the fact that they can now
accommodate around 70 people at a combination of the sushi
bar at the front and the two rooms with benches for four and
six to the rear. At the bar you will be able to watch the
chef dexterously creating sushi and this may be the best
seating if you are alone. Inside, the clientele seems mainly
young, students or office workers (though that may be just a
sign of age on my part) and can be noisy. It is very much an
‘eat and go’ environment, so any wait is short. The service
is efficient, polite and quite rapid if only because some of
the dishes are pre-prepared and some are naturally uncooked.
Sharing is certainly the best option and if you want a
healthy, tasty and quite quick meal then Tsunami is perfect.
Expect to pay a couple of hundred baht a head with modest
In short a busy, affordable restaurant, where – oddly – they
serve only Thai beers and none from Japan and no sake or
other spirits or wine, although there are plenty of soft
drink options which seem more popular with the young
customers. This is, compared to the bright, breezy and
overlit venues in Airport Major, a much more attractive
environment in which to eat. It has the leisurely or
characterful feel of Nine Lives, but is still a ‘local’
eatery. Most of the dishes are priced between 50 and 90 baht
and you will find delicious sashimi, a wide range of sushi,
excellent grilled salmon and so on. With a large Singha beer
between us our bill came in at 450 baht including a tip. Not
expensive for a good selection of ultra tasty good quality
food. You will find Tsunami Sushi bar at 8/19 Huay Kaew
Road, which is about 200 metres up from the big junction
with Canal Road. They are next to the Acer offices and it is
a brightly lit, busy place spilling over to the pavement.
Phone: 087 1899 338.
Thai-style Spanish Garlic Prawns
Garlic prawns are generally thought of as a Spanish dish, and
is the type of food that everyone in the party has to have, with the pungent and
all pervasive odour of garlic! This variation is interesting, as the addition of
the coriander seems to take some of the pungency away – particularly of the
“next day” variety.
Many brands of fish sauce are available at our local supermarkets, but I
recommend the Tiparos brand as having a cleaner taste than some of the cheaper
Ingredients serves 4
Coriander root minced 2 tbspns
Fish sauce 2
Brown sugar 2
White pepper ½ tspn
Prawns, shelled de-veined 500 gms
Oil for frying
Remove the shells, heads
and tails from the prawns and de-vein. Prepare a marinade by mixing
together the crushed cloves of garlic (best accomplished by hitting
the clove with the flat side of a Chinese chopper), the minced
coriander root, fish sauce, brown sugar and pepper. Add the prawns
and leave to marinate for one hour.
In the wok, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, add the prawns and
their marinade and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until the prawns are
just pink. Stir in the juice of a lemon and serve immediately in
four small crockery soup bowls, pouring the liquid equally over each
Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]
Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.