Make Chiangmai Mail | your Homepage | Bookmark

Chiangmai 's First English Language Newspaper

Pattaya Blatt | Pattaya Mail | Pattaya Mail TV


Is Butter better?

By Heather Allen

Although it has been around Chiang Mai for quite some time I just never made it to Butter is Better on Chang Klan. Often times I would drive past it thinking “I should go here” but always whizzed past the small driveway that leads to the parking area alongside.

However, a friend convinced me to head over to the other side of town at the height of New Year traffic to have lunch and yes, it was worth the trip; lost Bangkok drivers threatening life and limb and all.

Bake and Bite is, my friend tells me, modeled after a very American 50’s diner style. This style is often very popular in the movies and TV shows but is, apparently only existence in the U.S. now as rarities or copies of the original. I do like that Food channel show Diners, Drive ins and Dives” so was looking forward to the meal.

Their menu has a wonderfully American breakfast range, I was tempted by the waffles but as it was lunch time felt I wanted something a bit more savoury. I tried the Coney Island hotdog with cheese and my friend had the grilled ham and swiss cheese sandwich on rye bread.. Quite a hefty sandwich that came in three halves rather than two and on real home baked rye bread. The ham was thin sliced and generous. It also came with a side of coleslaw and home fries.

I had the chili cheese dog as I was not quite so hungry but it was still quite generous. The hot dog was good, not the strange red sausage that passes off as a hot dog in many places and the chili tasty. Although I confess, perhaps I have been in Thailand too long, the chili could have been spicier and a little less sweet. But it was tasty and the cook was generous with both the beef in chili as with the cheese on top. This also came with home fries and coleslaw.

We each had a dessert as I have had their chocolate cake before (a friend purchased it for a birthday party) and it was wonderful; rich, chocolatey and moist. However, since this was lunch I went for the lemon meringue pie. This pie was done perfectly; lemony with a light fluffy not too sweet meringue and crisp crust. It was also very generous so I took home the other half to eat later. I normally forget about my take home food and it usually sits in the fridge until it is inedible and then gets thrown in the bin. Not this pie, however. I had it after dinner and it was still delicious. I think I will need to go back and try their breakfasts as well.

Butter is Better is open daily to 6:30 and Sundays to 3:30 p.m. It is a breakfast and lunch place after all! The driveway is tricky if turning onto Chang Klan as it is just right next to the building. You may annoy the people behind you but slow down just as you go through the intersection and it is just on the left if you are coming from the Night Bazaar direction. Phone 053-820-761


RECIPES BY NOI: Kao Lahm; a childhood favorite

Grilled sticky rice

Actually Lahm is verb which means “to cook in bamboo”. We can cook curry, soup and meat in bamboo and call it Lahm as well.

My father and brother used to go camping in the mountains and they never brought pots for cooking because they use bamboo. When they came back home, they always had Kao Lahm left and my brother gave it to me, telling me that people from another village across the mountain gave it to me. I was so happy and ate all of it. Poor silly Noi believing his brother!

At the village, we cook Kao Lahm mostly during cold season for two main reasons; it’s just right after harvest season when we have new fresh rice. Sticky rice is good to eat when it’s new because the taste and smell are very nice and the rice won’t be too sticky, if it’s almost a year or over a year old and we cook it, it will not have enough glue to stick together. Steamed rice is opposite. Old rice is better because when we cook it, it is not too wet. Also, because it is cold, we have a fire burning outside, we sit around and chit chat and have some sweet potatoes, taros and Kao Lahm cooking on the fire. Having grilled stuff is super good when it’s cold.

My father is quite good at cooking Kao Lahm. On New Year my sister and her family came back home and he cooked 12 for them to bring back to Bangkok and cooked 6 more for the neighbors.

He uses the Kao Lahm bamboo (there are many kinds of bamboo and we use each differently) He cuts it about 30-50 cm depending on how long the bamboo is, he then he fills sticky rice which he soaked in water for a few hours in bamboo. We can add boiled beans or taro with the rice too. Then add coconut milk and sugar to taste, then leave it for an hour. If the coconut milk is entirely absorbed then add more.

Grill on a low fire and make sure it cooks from the bottom. After 30-45 minutes it should be done and then enjoy!

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]