While I confess I do like the occasional
steak and burger, I am not averse to eating vegetarian from
time to time. I recently ate at that Chiang Mai vegetarian
staple; Khun Churn on Nimmanhaemin Soi 17. Set in a peaceful
garden setting, they have misting fans blowing during the
day to keep things cool. Night time seemed cool enough
without the mist, but we still liked to sit near the fan in
The large trees and natural garden
setting make it a peaceful and relaxing place to eat.
Together with the generally quite good service and tasty
food, it’s worth a try even for non-vegetarians.
Khun Churn does a mean crispy fried
mushroom dish as a starter. With different kinds of
mushrooms battered and deep fried and accompanied by a
creamy sauce, it was quite delicious and made a good starter
to share before our food (rather quickly) arrived.
Khun Churn does the meat substitute stuff
but my vegetarian friend says she doesn’t eat meat for a
reason, why would she want to go for the meat substitute? So
she ordered something I had never heard of before, Yue Pai
Nam Daeng, lettuce and bamboo tissue in clear, not too thick
gravy. I quizzed her on the bamboo tissue as, being a keen
gardener, have never seen a bamboo with tissue, much less
one that looked even remotely edible. She was unsure, so
Google became necessary. I suspect it’s the edible bamboo
Dendrocalamus asper. But it could be anyone’s guess!
Whatever it was, it was pretty good, although the slightly
gelatinous texture of the bamboo was less appealing to me.
She proclaimed it as one of her favorites. The fairly large
dish was only 70 baht.
I had a slightly spicy (for me, anyway, I
like my food spicy) Tom Kha with mushrooms, it was nice but
wasn’t sour enough for my tastes and could have used more
mushrooms and less onions. But then, I am not a big onion
fan, so perhaps others may like the abundance of onions. I
also had something interestingly called Kao Rad Mun Goong Pa
Ma. It was some kind of minced mushroom stir fried in a
spicy paste. It came with brown rice (shouldn’t’ it be “rad
kao”?) and was super filling along with the soup. The soup
was 65 baht and the rice dish 55.
My friend went to town and also ordered
tofu with cashews, which was quite a large plate and tastily
done. Many places go light on the cashews, much to my usual
dismay, but not Khun Churn. The number of cashews per other
vegetables was quite reasonable and the stir fried
vegetables were crisp and not overcooked.
One of the best things about Khun Churn,
I have to say, is their abundance of smoothies, juices and
herbal teas. I love the lemongrass iced tea and the fact
that they give me brown sugar syrup to sweeten to my own
taste is a huge plus for me. I don’t like sweet drinks and
most places seem to over sugar. For only 20 baht for a large
glass, I could quench my thirst in these hot and dry times
without worrying about driving the bill up on expensive
The service at Khun Churn is rather quick
without that obtrusive hovering that so many places do. They
make a pretty good effort at bringing diners’ food out
together, and the portions are large and generally quite
tasty. Khun Churn is well known among the vegetarian crowd,
both Thai and foreign, for their daily lunch buffet. With
many dishes to choose from and unlimited herbal tea drinks,
it’s a bargain at 98 baht.
So, even if you are a devoted carnivore,
Khun Churn is worth visiting, even if it’s just to say you
gave vegetarian food a try. You will find yourself
pleasantly surprised and might even surprise yourself by
going back for a second try.
Khun Churn is open daily for breakfast,
lunch and dinner from 10 AM to 9 PM. The buffet lunch is
from 11 AM to 2:30 PM. Located at Nimmanhaemin Soi 17.