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There’s nothing like a perfectly cooked steak

By Heather Allen
I am an unrepentant meat eater. And while not a complete carnivore, I have been known to eat vegetarian every once in a while, I will crave a thick juicy steak every now and again. The other day was one such day. Perhaps it was the vegetarian meal I had eaten the day before that kicked off the need for a steak. Perhaps there is some cycle related to the moon, or the traffic, or even what appears to be the onset of the cool weather season, or “winter” as the locals like to call it.
I called a good friend and we made reservations at the Steak House at JJ Market. And while the place was not packed out it was busy so I was glad to have made the reservations. My friend and I were both drawn to one of the monthly specials on offer, their specials change regularly so be sure and drop in to check what they are because if they are anything like ours, it is worth the extra effort.
I opted for a baked spinach and cheese starter and while my friend confessed she was not a huge fan of spinach she found this quite good. The cheese was baked to a nice melted crust, the spinach was not overcooked. Soggy spinach that looks like wet seaweed is, to me, extremely unappealing, but this was delicious.
We both ordered the surf and turf. She had the baked potato, I had French fries. Her potato looked tasty but let us face the reality, you don’t go to a steak place for potatoes. I am quite fussy about my steak and have often found that Thai cooks do not quite grasp the complexities of medium rare. I do not necessarily want it mooing but it had better be quite red. Pardon my graphic description to any of the vegetarians still reading, but I am pretty sure most would not be reading a review of a restaurant called “The Steak House”.
So, to the steak. It was cooked to perfection. I cannot say more than that. It was tender and juicy and definitely medium rare. Worth the steak alone but the prawns were also quite good. They tasted very fresh without that often slightly grainy taste that prawns in Chiang Mai can have. They were cooked on the grill to the right amount of “doneness” and were not chewy or either overdone or underdone. I often avoid seafood in Chiang Mai as I wonder at its freshness but this was just right.
The portions were not huge but then I prefer not to eat huge meals if I can help it. Not only does one feel like a roasted pig with the apple in its mouth, but rather looks like that too after too many large meals. I was happily full but not so full I couldn’t try a brownie which was rich and chocolate-y.
Without alcohol our meals came to about 1400 for the two of us, and considering the excellence of the steak, the pleasant ambiance, the excellent service and the friendly host, it was an evening well spent.



Tam ma keua yao

Pounded grilled long egg plant

The smell of grilled eggplant always activates my digestive system! Tam ma keua is made from grilled long eggplant with the skin removed.
The base chili paste is Nam prik noom which we can find and buy in any market in Chiang Mai but it’s always better to learn and cook by ourselves.
It won’t take long time, just a few simple steps;
First grill garlic, shallots and fresh chilies. Pound them all together and salt to taste. For Nam Phrik Noom we add chopped coriander and spring onions to the paste.
Now we can add our grilled long eggplant and pound in the chili paste. Last step just add chopped mint and Vietnamese coriander.
Oh, oh! I would be the bad guy in this story if I don’t tell you that boiled egg and fresh mint go extremely well with our dish. Now please excuse me for leaving to take care of my Tam ma keua and I hope you’ll enjoy yours.

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