EATING OUT & RECIPES BY NOI
Pho Vieng Chane
for Vietnamese food!
By Christopher Sujarit
It’s “Wintertime” in our lovely Northern city, with
temperatures dropping to the teens making motorbike rides
shiver our timbers. Now is the time for clement comforts,
now is the time for soup.
Pho Vieng Chane is the perfect place for enjoying soup and
other simple Vietnamese dishes in a clean indoor or outdoor
setting in the easy middle of the Old City.
It’s a rule of thumb in Chiang Mai that the smaller the
menu, the better the food because the restaurant has time to
perfect a small number of items. The people of Pho Vieng
Chane have discovered a happy middle ground with a medium
sized menu offering a handful of “specialties.”
Pho Vieng Chane serves Pho in both Chicken and Pork
varieties. The broth is light and not over- seasoned; the
rice noodles are perfectly cooked; green onions, bean
sprouts, and peanuts are added. Cabbage and mint leaves are
available to add so you can pretend you are eating a salad.
I’m all about fiber.
The Fresh Spring Rolls (Chicken, Veggie, Pork, Shrimp
options) were wonderful, and an essential companion to every
bowl of soup. Inside each piece of rice paper is tightly
wrapped lettuce, tofu or meat, and mint. The dipping sauce
is first- rate- not too sour; salty, and sweet, and
generously peppered with peanuts. The Fresh Spring Rolls did
not fall apart while being eaten, attesting to the quiet
care with which Pho Vieng Chane prepares its simple dishes.
My eating companion, Gayle, gently sold me on trying the
Rice Salad. What is Rice Salad? Well, according to Pho Vieng
Chane, it is crispy rice mixed with peanuts, green onion,
and lime. This dish is the perfect answer to “fried rice”
fatigue, as Rice Salad is more crispy, lively, less oily,
and generously garnished with heaps of green onions and
peanuts. You can pretend you are eating a salad, again.
The owner of Pho Vieng Chane is a charmingly friendly man,
and the service is top notch. The restaurant is located
within the outdoor plaza off Ratchadamnoen alongside Wawee
Coffee and Beetroot Stories. This means you can enjoy your
meal outside in the inviting courtyard, and imagine you are
having a picnic. Although somewhat populated by fleeting
farang tourists, the outdoor courtyard of the plaza makes
eating at Pho Vieng Chane just that much better. You can
enjoy great food on the cheap without being relegated to a
hole- in- the- wall.
Other menu items include Glass Noodle Spicy Salad, Sausage,
Deep Fried Fish, Grilled Pork with Sticky Rice, Egg
Rolls/Fried Spring Rolls, Fish in Crepe Rolls, Rice Cakes
with Shrimp on top, and Steamed Fish… and Shrimp Mousse on
Sugar Cane, whatever that may be.
A bowl of Pho will set you back about 40THB, or 60THB for a
large bowl (always encouraged). The appetizers and other
dishes are priced similarly so you can enjoy your soup or
pretend-salad guiltfree, with money to spare.
Although not quite the caliber Pho found in Saigon or San
Jose, Pho Vieng Chane pulls off a satisfying effort,
especially during “winter” in Chiang Mai. And just for good
measure, Pho Vieng Chane will leave you feeling warm and
Pho-zzy all over your insides.
Pho Vieng Chane is located off the Sunday Market Walking
Street (Ratchadamnoen Road) at the large plaza with Wawee
Coffee (Kad Klang Wiang). It is open from 7am to 9pm
everyday. Phone: 053 271174.
RECIPES BY NOI: Phad Dok Hom
Stir fried onion blossoms with pork
After the harvest season the rice fields turn brown and dry.
Onion and garlic are good choices to plant during the time
that the rain takes a vacation as they require only a little
water and can be used for everything!
The onion plant produces flowers after two months, the
blossoms have a sweet flavor but, surprisingly, not a strong
flavor of onion. Onion flowers are tastier than garlic
The best way to cook this dish is to stir fry the blossoms
with pork but some people like to steam the flowers with
mixed vegetables and eat it the standard chili paste.
Take a few hundred grams of flowers and pork as needed. Stir
fry the pork in a tablespoon full of oil until cooked but
not dry. Then add the flowers and a bit of water and stir
fry quickly. Add soy sauce of fish sauce to taste and you
have a unique and delicious dish!