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EATING OUT & RECIPES BY NOI
 

Beer Republic branches out into brunch

Al fresco dining and great people watching on Nimmanhaemin

By Heather Allen
This time of year is perfect for al fresco dining, especially in the late morning when the temperatures remain cool and pleasant. One does not equate beer and brunch but Beer Republic offers a really nice dining experience for those who like brunch outside. Or even lunch! They have a small but complete menu with things like sausages, eggs, bacon, lox and bagels, burgers rice soup, and khao soy for those who feel like Thai food.
My dining companion and I enjoyed a delicious Sunday brunch there recently, the menu is fairly new and will certainly go back. The dining area is outside yet covered and shady, the people watching excellent with many Chinese tourist offering us the opportunity to comment by standing in the middle of the road and taking random photos and the food, which is of course the main reason one goes out to eat, tasty and filling without being overbearing.
I went Thai and had the rice soup with three different fillings, Chinese kale, Chiang Mai sausage and minced garlic pork. I could have used with a little bit of ginger but that is perhaps just my personal taste. My friend had sausage, bacon, hash browns and lightly sautéed vegetables to assuage the guilt of the previous three items in the dish. The entire thing was sprinkled lightly with cayenne pepper, giving it an unexpected but welcome piquancy.
We topped it off with a delicious Lavazza brand cappuccino each. The service was prompt, the atmosphere charming and the food tasty. I can’t think of anything more to ask for a Sunday morning brunch!
Beer Republic is open daily and brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. I understand they have an excellent dinner menu I will be sure and give a try. Usually I just have beer and snacks but I will be sure and try the pizza next time I am there as I understand it is quite good.
Beer Republic is located on the corner of Nimmanhaemin Soi 11 and the center soi that runs parallel to Nimmanhaemin. For the gentle reader who wants map coordinates I confess it took some doing as Google Maps does not show them like they used to. However, we managed to suss it out: 18.79695, 98.96866. However, for those who don’t need coordinates, the address is simply Nimmanhaemin Soi 11, their phone number is 053-216-568. They are open daily and brunch is offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


 

RECIPES BY NOI: Nam Phu or Crab Paste is one of the oldest foods in Northern Thailand

Nam Phu (crab paste) is one of oldest foods in Northern Thailand and is very well known to locals but few non local Thais and foreigners know about it. We use it as an ingredient in young tamarind salad, Bamboo shoot salad, Cucumber salad, santol salad, pomelo salad, bamboo shoot curry, make Nam Phu chili paste by adding it into Nam Phrik Noom or just eat it plain with sticky rice.
It looks like shrimp paste but is very black, it taste a bit salty and spicy from ingredients we add while cooking. The smell, as usual for paste, is very very strong!
In the last issue we cooked Okk Phu and fortunately, we have a very professional crab catcher and have a lot of live crabs left in the bucket. But not to worry as we will need a lot of crabs for Nam Phu.
First, clean the crabs and only use the ones that are still alive. Then blend them in a blender or crush with a mortar. This is pretty hard to do so clear your mind and do not think too much about it, after this we will go make merit.
Add dry chili, lemongrass leaves, galangal leaves and guava leaves to the blender as you crush the crabs. These leaves will give fragrance to our smelly crab paste and will make the paste very very black which we believe is the best
Filter the crab paste and cook to a high boil then turn down the heat. Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn the bottom of the pot. If you do burn the bottom of the pot you will need to throw away all of the Nam Phu which would be a disaster.
Cooking time depends on how much you make, people cook a lot in one time and it takes more than 6 hours. Even though we cook it very small portion it still takes quite much time so I suggest to bring a good book, music, radio, magazine, your girlfriend to talk to or a cell phone with wifi to keep you occupied while you stir.
When it’s getting sticky remove it from the heat and put in cups when it’s cool. It keeps for a year.
There is no hard and fast rule about how much chili or herbs to add, do it to taste. I hope after this at least one of us will be a big fan of Nam Phu!


 
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