DINING OUT - RECIPES BY NOI
By Heather Allen
I love cheese, it isn’t always easy to
find in Chiang Mai and, let’s face it, never for the price
that one could find in Paris or even London. However, when
one has been away from quality cheese for quite some time
then price does not always come into account. This, of
course holds true for good wine. This is something that can
be found at the new Aji Restaurant at the Rimping
Supermarket in the new Maya Shopping Mall.
Some friends of mine who had eaten there said it felt a bit
like dining in a fishbowl with the big windows looking out
into the ground floor of the mall. However, as my dining
companion pointed out, it was no different than sitting in
the window of a restaurant on high street. I must say it
didn’t really bother me and I didn’t actually feel that many
eyes on me whilst we dined.
To the cheese, we ordered two of the smaller cheese plates,
since we were only two and didn’t actually plan on eating a
big meal, plus we shared the crab and fish croquettes for
something more like food.
The cheese was delicious and whilst the house wine is
incredibly affordable we ordered a bottle to share from the
shop. The cheese was delicious and we received more bread as
we asked for it. Be aware that most of the cheese plates
seem designed for larger groups as they were not that small.
The cheese is also not cheap but then it is cheese. Imported
delicious cheeses will cost more and until we can talk to
the Thai government to reduce tax on “luxury items” such as
wine and cheese, all we can do is go without, or pay. We
chose to pay. We enjoyed the raclette, which is a kind of
melted or grilled cheese on a platter. It was very tasty
with the fresh bread. We also had a wonderful cheese made
out of buffalo milk, not quite a mozzarella and the lovely
young man who came in to explain it all explained it quite
well. Unfortunately, I had a few glasses by that time and
can’t recall exactly how it was made but it was creamy on
The cheese dishes and croquettes came to about 800 baht for
the two of us, whilst the cost of the wine will be of your
One warning, the restaurant is quite cold. Wear a jumper!
Located in the ground floor of the Maya Shopping Center at
Huay Kaew Road and the Superhighway, the restaurant is open
until 10 p.m. I believe.
RECIPES BY NOI: Kang Yuak Klouy
The tender core of the banana plant’s trunk
Foreigners might be amazed that we can eat banana stalks. As
well as used to make krathongs in the Loy Krathong the
banana tree is one of the most useful plants as all of its
parts can be used. Many years ago, my grandparents would
boil the trunk in clean water and drink it to clean up the
digestive system, rope can be made from the dry, fibrous
layers of the trunk, the leaves can be used for wrapping
food to steam and can be used as containers even. The flower
blossom makes a wonderful curry with chicken or pork. The
dried leaves can be used to roll tobacco instead of paper;
my grandmother was a big fan of using it instead of
cigarette papers. My father was very proud of my
grandmother’s giant cigarettes, saying no one’s was bigger
than hers. People used to cut the young leaf and dry it for
a few days but nowadays I don’t see people smoke them
anymore. There is even a female ghost of a banana tree; Nang
Tani, she lives in the Kluay Tani tree.
Back to the banana trunk curry, first you need to cut a
young banana tree and then cut the core into small pieces
about 2 cm long. Soak these pieces in water with some salt
or lime juice to keep the trunk from turning black, and stir
with a wooden spoon to get rid of the fibers. Stir fry chili
paste (we’ve done this recipe before, its dried chilies,
garlic, shallots, salt and shrimp paste pounded together)
then add chicken or pork. Keep frying for a few minutes and
then add water. Once the water boils add the banana trunk.
Cook until tender and then turn off the heat. Add coriander,
kaffir lime leaf, and spring onions.