EATING OUT & RECIPES BY NOI
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
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.
RECIPES BY NOI: Tam Manoon
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,
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,
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