Mokador and Ginger & Kafe: by Brian Baxter

Eating breakfast is the smart thing to do – that’s official

Nutritionists and other health advisers tell us that the most important meal of the day is breakfast. Their advice is simple, begin with a healthy early-day meal (one that is ‘slow burning’) and eat less later on. This is especially recommended for the ‘older generation’. The well known variation on this is, breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper.
Personally, I take this advice in compromised form: a decent breakfast, not too early for preference, something at ‘tea time’ and a main meal in the evenings. Lunch (those buffets or advertisements for such offering all you can eat are a real no-no) tends to make me sleepy and wastes the day. Still that depends on life style and one’s metabolism. The physically active certainly need a midday top up, but there is no doubt that people eat too much and burn off too little of the calories consumed.
Hence the recommendation to eat earlier in the day and keep the waist line down. Very few people need to be over-weight.
This week’s column is for those who enjoy a good breakfast in especially pleasant surroundings and perhaps the word brunch might be more valid. As it happens both venues are open all day and Ginger Café is well established for its Thai food and western food and delicious tapas at lunchtime and in the evenings. The Mokador described has only recently taken to opening on Friday and Saturday evenings (until midnight) for tapas, other food delicacies and wines. But for now we are talking 8.30 in the morning through the day and at Ginger from around the 8a.m. opening until noon.
The Mokador, located directly opposite Wat Pra Singh has a justified claim to be one of the very smartest coffee bars in the city. It has a large verandah with sofas and individual chairs and low tables and further seating inside for up to twenty customers. The low chairs and banquettes are comfortable but on a recent visit with two friends I found the small round tables over crowded. Fine just for coffee and a cake but not for three large plates plus drinks.
We each went for different choices: one had a baguette with two fried eggs over easy, a second settled for a mushroom omelet which he found ‘perfect’ and I chose the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, which I had particularly enjoyed on a previous visit. Juices and the excellent coffee rounded off the meals. They offer ‘sets’, for those who want something even more substantial, such as a so-called English breakfast and an American equivalent, which is somewhat larger.
Their special – at 300 baht – would only tempt those with a large appetite: you can have a couple of eggs any style, served with sausage, ham and bacon. Plus toast and croissant (with butter and marmalade) and a platter of cheeses and salami. There are various juices to choose from or a mixed vegetable option. With the full breakfasts coffee is topped up on request. On my most recent visit I ended with an espresso and though tiny it packed a real jolt.
Average spend for a ‘normal’ sized breakfast is around 200 baht plus and you will find Mokador at Samlan Road 3/11. T.Prasingh, Chiang Mai. Tel: 053 814 806.
Ginger & Kafe is right next to The House and the smart Nomad shops run by the same management. This is possibly the prettiest restaurant in the city centre and you can enjoy your breakfast (or other meals) outside on low sofas with generous sized tables or inside the elegant dining room with its ‘proper tables’ and a choice of low seating. This is definitely not a coffee bar and it makes an idea place for a ‘business’ breakfast since the atmosphere is calm, even quiet at that time of day.
The menu is large and you can take healthy options such as yoghurt with muesli, or raspberry pancakes served with syrup or a simple bread basket with cinnamon rolls, croissant and breads. They can provide eggs any style and I can vouch for the perfectly cooked poached version.
If you are feeling rather fancy go for the eggs Benedict or the croque madam and if brunch is the order of the day then you might choose some home-smoked bacon or even sausages – spicy chicken or pork. The coffee is good, though given a choice I would opt for the green tea and one of their juices. This is a around the same price range as the above mentioned coffee bar and they make a good contrast and naturally the choice might depend on the location. A visit to the Wat followed by one to Mokador or a rewarding shopping expedition at the many nearby bookshops then on to Ginger’s? It’s up to you. Ginger is at 199 Moon Muang Road. Tel: 086 755 1395


Coconut Prawns

One of the biggest problems with prawns is what to do with the heads or tails? You can present prawns for your guests so that they do not have to hide the tails in the pot plants. Select the plumpest prawns from your supplier or supermarket. Around 8-10 cm long after removing the head and tail is satisfactory, and fresh is best with seafood.

Ingredients                     Serves 6
Large prawns, de-veined     36
Lime juice                         ¼ cup
Salt                                  ½ tspn
Curry powder                     1 tspn
Ginger                              ½ tspn
Grated coconut                 2 cups
Beer                                 330 ml
Flour                                 3 cups
White pepper                    ½ tspn
Sugar                               1 tbspn
Paprika                             2 tspns
Oil                                    2 cups
36 long skewers

Cooking Methodd
Remove head and tail and de-shell prawns. Cut down the back of the prawn and remove the vein. Combine lime juice, salt, curry powder and ginger in a small bowl. Add prawns, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. To prepare coconut coating, lightly toast on cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes. In another bowl, mix beer, flour, white pepper, sugar and paprika for the batter.
Soak skewers in water for 5 minutes, then fix prawns on each skewer. Heat oil in heavy skillet. Dip prawns in batter and fry until brown. Roll immediately in toasted coconut. Serve with dipping sauce of your choice.