I first lived in Taiwan before coming to
Thailand and learned one thing rather quickly, the overly
sweet and sauced dishes common in Chinese restaurants were
not to be found there. Instead they had all sorts of
interesting foods, from a spicy dish made with octopus
mouths (! beaks?, no idea!) to chicken feet soup (not too
bad actually but I can’t say I ate too much of it). The
dishes available were varied and savory and well, frankly,
delicious. One of my favorite meals at the time was jiaozi
or steamed dumplings with pork and something called Papaya
Milk (muguo nionai) a creamy milky delicious drink made with,
is a tiny little hole in the wall restaurant in Bangkok that
serves the favored dumplings and fantastic Chinese fried
rice (somehow vastly different from Thai fried rice) but it
wasn’t until a friend introduced me to the Taiwan restaurant
on Huay Kaew road that I had discovered authentic dumplings
here in Chiang Mai. They moved around the corner, behind
Vieng Ping Condos, thankfully to a more light filled and
cleaner if a bit more sterile restaurant. Sadly still no
papaya milk to be found in Thailand tho!
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a
fine meal out, the restaurant is pretty basic. But, if you
crave real Chinese food, then this definitely has to be on
your list of restaurants.
The jiaozi, or steamed dumplings were
truly delicious. Pan fried is also available and also good.
Stuffed with pork, they had the right amount of garlic
flavor and they had soy sauce of chili flavored sauces
available at hand. Jiaozi can be difficult to make right,
often bland or overly soft, these were cooked to perfection.
I admit, I go back regularly for this dish.
I had the fried rice with ham, it was
pretty good but a little on the sweet side. Portions are
generous and prices reasonable. A plate of 12 dumplings is
only 50 baht. A real bargain considering. While the ambiance
is again, not the best, this isn’t one of those places for
fine dining. It’s simple, unpretentious Chinese food. They
have a really nice selection of vegetarian dishes as well as
traditional Chinese soups. The hot and sour soup is filled
to the brim with vegetables, tofu and chicken and if it’s
not spicy enough then there are condiments on the side to
add more spice.
They offer some unique Taiwanese dishes
(I am afraid I wasn’t brave enough to try the pig knuckle)
and an interesting vegetable dish. What the vegetable is, I
am unsure. It’s not Chinese kale or cabbage, not morning
glory. But, they did have stir fried morning glory on offer
if you aren’t adventurous enough to try the unknown
vegetable! The menu is pretty extensive for such a small
restaurant, but the service is quick and the food cooked
fresh right after you order it in traditional Chinese style.
I can’t say I know how much English they speak but the menu
is in English and has photos too, so you can simply point at
the dish you want.
Beer is also reasonably priced, 75 baht
for a large Singha, they also offer Chinese teas, with
chrysanthemum as one of the specialties. Open daily from 9
a.m.to 9 p.m they are located down the small soi opposite
the Shell gas station at Huay Kaew road, you can find them
on the left hand side of the soi at the very end.