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Tajene Chomchan Seafood Restaurant

By Brian Baxter
This exceptionally spacious restaurant is widely regarded as one of the best – even THE best – place to eat seafood in Chiang Mai and some would say in the north of the Kingdom. Well no need to argue the point since the crowds of local Thais and a smattering of farangs who go each evening testify to its success and popularity.

The amazing thing is that despite its size there is a cosy atmosphere to the venue and the excellent service assures no long wait times. With upwards of a hundred covers one can only compliment whoever manages and/ or owns Tajene and wish that other places would emulate it.
The second welcome fact is that the prices are fair: not the cheapest in town by a long way but given the quality of the food, the cooking and presentation they are offer god value. Possibly being away from the main tourist areas helps.
As mentioned it is occupies a large area (there is also a guest house under the same ownership about 100 metres away) with ample parking and three areas in the restaurant. The first is a chilly air con salon with live music. Next to this is an L-shaped terrace. The largest area is the garden which divides into sections giving an uncluttered feeling. Personally I prefer this more relaxed and cooler (not cold) seating to either the interior or the slightly cramped terrace. But if you enjoy music or a bustling atmosphere try the others.
Rather than generalise about the food which we have tried over the years this review concentrates on one rather lavish meal which we enjoyed in very early April. The critical group comprised of two Thais and two farangs, all of whom were hungry. Just one point: we took our own wine and the only drinks purchased were a coconut and a non-stop supply of mineral water. Inevitably the price would be higher if wine, beer or even soft drinks were added. Many Thais – often in groups - take their own whisky or other drinks.
Our mini feast comprised two Thai salads, with squid: stir fried vegetables mixed with a few prawns for extra taste: a large Tabtim fish filleted and cooked with a spicy black pepper sauce and plenty of asparagus: a small butter fish in garlic: some heavyweight prawn cakes (to my mind and that of the Thais not a success, though very generous in their portion): plus one of the house specialties; a large dish of cockles, which was enjoyed so much by the Thais that a second was ordered.
The salads were fresh and spicy, the vegetables cooked perfectly al dente and according to its consumer the butter fish was excellent. The main fish was exceptionally plentiful and the sauce a knockout. The rice was perfectly adequate and generously served. We added ten per cent to the bill bringing the overall total to 2,000 baht or exactly 500 baht per person. Not cheap but given the large amount of quality food and the excellent service and surroundings it seemed well worth the cost and the whole evening a pleasure.
Unless you live very near Wat Jed Yod as we do, then you need transport to get to Tajene. The simplest directions to give are probably from Amari Rincome. Head along from the traffic lights down Super Highway towards Mae Rim. Cross only one set of traffic lights and then keep to the left. About 500 metres further there is a left turn (on the other side of the highway is a large Esso petrol station). Follow down to the first cross roads (about 300 metres) turn left and a little way along the soi you will find Tajene, with ample parking and helpful attendants. The full address (good for tuk tuks etc) is Moo 2, Soi 2 Potharam Road, 2. Chang Puak, Chiang Mai 50300. The telephone number is 053 221919. They open every day from 17.00 hrs. until midnight.



Kanoon, Manoon or Banoon in Northern Thai is the word for Jackfruit. It’s one of the biggest fruits on the planet and can be found in every part of Thailand. The ripe one has a strong smell and is extremely sweet, it was used as alaxative in the old days but interestingly, the young jackfruit is antidiarrheal. Northerners don’t use ripe jackfruit, the baby green jackfruit will be served with other fresh vegetables for Laab Pla (spicy minced fish salad) and the young jackfruit can be cooked as Tam Manoon or pounded, boiled-jackfruit.
To cook Tam Manoon we need a young jackfruit cut in 3 cm thick chunks and and boiled until well cooked and tender. Then remove from the water and choose only the meat because the skin and core does not have a good taste.
The chili paste contains dry chilies, garlics, shallots, shrimp paste and salt. After we pound the ingredients together we need to add the jackfruit and pound it in until well mixed. The last step is just stir fry it in a couple spoonfuls of cooking oil. Then add cherry tomatoes and sliced kaffir lime leaves. It’s normally served with Cap Moo (deep fried crispy pork skin), deep fried sliced shallots, and garlic.
My dad cooked a lot but I remember he never cooked Tam Manoon for me because it’s too much work. We need to boil, pound, stir fry and deep fry. Anyway, it’s really worth the hard work because the combination of all ingredients is the superb!

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