EATING OUT & RECIPES BY NOI
Smart new Eatery just off Nimmanhaemin Road
By Brian Baxter
The first impression one gets of the (fairly) recently
opened VULCAN0 is that of confidence: the designers and
backers of this stylish, 100- seater restaurant obviously
believed in the concept and saw it through to a successful
conclusion. Many eating places fall by the wayside in Chiang
Mai. Vulcano looks as though it is here to stay and if I
were an out of towner I would certainly be tempted to use
the hotel which covers the top floors of the building.
Vulcano is on Soi Sai Nam Peung, not that far from the
junction with Soi 17 and parking is easy. It occupies a
large new building, fronted by an extensive patio with seats
for drinking or casual dining. On the ground floor the
dining area is to the right of the entrance and to the left
is a very large wine ‘store’ from where you can select your
wine and even buy some imported Italian food products.
Up the wide stairs there is a further dining area, a bar to
one side and a small stage, where live music is offered on
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings- a different group
each day – with singer Art’s relaxed parade of the American
song book as a special favourite for us oldies on Wednesdays
and more up to date offerings on the weekends.
Having eaten there seven or eight times we have some to know
the menu, which is reasonably extensive and veers towards
Italian food, with a good selection of pizza and pasta among
the many choices. (There is a genuine pizza oven producing
thin crust choices on the ground floor level and the four
cheese pizza is among the very best in the City - worth
sharing as a starter).
The menu has a good selection of starters, including
excellent grilled vegetables, thinly sliced beef, a
selection of cut meats, a wonderful Italian platter with
cheeses, olives etc. added to the more meaty offerings. And
good news these and other main course are all very
reasonably priced, averaging 160 to 250 for portions big
enough to share –especially as complimentary gnocchi are
also offered on arrival.
The main courses include a wide choice of pasta dishes, plus
a couple of superb risottos, gnocchi, the excellent pizzas
(around 200 baht) and a number of meat and fish dishes,
including steaks (300 to 500 baht), sea bass and some
vegetarian offerings. There is fully stocked bar and as a
special treat they offer superb draft Belgian beer alongside
more regular choices.
The service is affable and apart from a mix up on one
occasion when a pizza arrived before the starters, it is
efficient. It’s important to note that this is a relaxed,
spacious and comfortable restaurant with no pretentions to
fine dining. The menu is full of tempting dishes,
colourfully shown but no one will claim that they offer rack
of lamb to compete with Café Mini or an onion soup to rival
that in La Fourchette. But the ambiance, the comfortable
chairs and large tables, the music and the airiness of the
venue make it a most attractive place to be. They open at
7a.m. for breakfast (don’t forget there is a hotel on the
two upper floors) and close at midnight. 088 137 9210 and
084 173 6239. www.wineofvulcano.com
RECIPES BY NOI: Kua Phak Hom
Kua-stir fry / Phak Hom-Thai spinach
After eating spinach, Popeye becomes super strong, almost
like the Hulk and can then always save his girl, Olive Oyl
from the giant villain Bluto. At least, that is what my
parents told me to convince me to eat Phak Hom! It was quite
hard for me to believe because to me Phak Hom did not taste
good when I was a kid (we are talking about silly Noi 20
years ago!). I preferred just having a simple omelet because
to me Phak Hom was a kind of weed in our garden. Phak Hom
will grow side by side with other vegetables sometime it can
be even double size taller than our tomato plants. The worst
thing is that the full grown Phak Hom plant has thorns which
will give a painful itchy feeling if pricked! So, it was
always pulled from the garden when it was very young.
However I have acquired a taste for Phak Hom as it is very
Here’s how we cook it.
Pound dry chili and garlic then stir fry with a few spoons
of oil. Add chopped galangal and lemongrass, stir fry for
some fragrance then add dried fish. When the fish is cooked
add spinach and fish sauce. It only need a few minutes to be
cooked. We eat with deep fried dry chili.
If you don’t like dried fish you can add pork or egg.