DINING OUT & RECIPES BY NOI
A taste of Germany in the heart of the Night Bazaar
By Paul Surtees
Situated at a busy corner of Chiang Mai’s Night
Bazaar is an international restaurant, where a genuine taste
of Germany can be experienced; the German Hofbrauhaus Y Casa
Antonio (tel. 053 276 989), it is located almost opposite
McDonald’s at 115/2-2, Loi Kroh Road.
It was started over thirty years ago by an expatriate
German. Although the name Hofbrauhaus is taken from the
world-famous beer hall in Munich, in fact this Chiang Mai
establishment is not linked to the original, other than by
This open-fronted restaurant has traditional wooden
furniture, antlers and alpine prints on the walls, and
displays a large collection of German stein (beer mugs),
such that the atmosphere within is like that of a small
restaurant back in Germany. To add to this atmosphere, most
of the staff wear traditional Bavarian costumes. As you eat
and drink, a constantly-varied procession of Night Bazaar
shoppers passes by in front. Interestingly for a downtown
restaurant, it does not serve lunch, as it is only open from
3 p.m. to midnight, every day.
In this German atmosphere, a rather limited selection of
German beers is available. For example, a large Erdinger
draft will cost you THB 240. Their selection does however
include some less well-known beverages, such as Alster
(Heineken with Fanta) and Radler (Singha with Sprite), both
at THB 95. Cocktails mostly cost THB 150 and their good
choice of schnapps are priced at THB 180 a glass. House wine
is THB 180 a glass. There is no wine list: if you seek a
bottle of wine, the staff will bring along a selection of
unopened bottles to your table, from which you can choose.
The red wines, suprisingly, were brought to the table very
Starters include smoked ham with melon, and smoked salmon,
both at THB 250, and a Caesar salad at THB 280. We chose one
of their hearty soups, a Hungarian goulash at THB 140. Even
in Hungary, such a rich, meat-laden soup would rarely be
served: it was truly delicious! However, the hoped-for
provision of that nice German-style rye bread as an
accompaniment left us disappointed.
This place offers perhaps too wide a range of dishes,
including such items as Thai prawn friend rice and Italian
spaghetti Bolognaise (both at THB 250), pizzas, Thai
curries, international steaks (an Australian one is priced
at THB 980)and Spanish tortilla. Perhaps, as an
originally-German restaurant, they would be better advised
to return to serving just one type of national cuisine, and
to focus on making that as authentic as possible?
Having said that, it must be stated that they do provide a
goodly range of German specialties and these vary in quality
only from the very good to the excellent. The traditional
Weiner schnitzel I had was done to perfection. Furthermore,
it was served along with those very tasty German-style
potatoes, fried with bacon and onion. Sauerkraut can
sometimes be rather bitter, but their home-made version of
this traditional vegetable was also delicious.
As may be expected, they offer German-style desserts such as
a strongly-flavoured cheesecake (THB 110) and a lovely
version of the traditional apfel strudel with vanilla sauce
at THB 140.
The service is attentive here: the pepper mill arrived
within seconds of our requesting it, and they brought the
mustard even before they were asked for it! This
establishment, then, can provide a tasty and hearty meal,
washed down with some fine beverages, and a typical
three-course meal for two with a nice glass of German beer
each would range from about THB 1,500 to 2,000. (Photo
courtesy of takeaway via Wikimedia Commons)
RECIPES BY NOI: Nam Phrik Pla Ha Moo Sab
Chili paste with fermented fish
Now it’s time for a little fragrant recipe with Pla Ra. Pla
Ra or in the north we call it Pla Ha is fermented freshwater
fish by adding salt and roasted rice powder to the fish then
ferment it for months (when we do ours in small amounts it
takes about 3-4 months depending on the weather, high
temperature during summer is the best to get quick Pla Ra).
In the north and north eastern Thailand are the main area
producing and consuming it. Most of people think that it
comes from the Northeast but my experience has been that
people from Phrae province love the tastes and fragrance of
Pla ra. I had a neighbor married to a Phrae woman and she
added Pla Ra to almost every meal she cooked.
Actually it can be added to many dishes but when it’s rainy
season like this, the Pla Ra that we made during summer is
ready and we liked to cook it to bring to work in the rice
field, planting rice. It’s called Nam Phrik Pla ra but to
make it tasted more variety we will add minced pork and call
it Nam Phrik Pla Ra Moo Sab.
To make it first roast chili and garlic then pound them
together. Please do not add salt because we will add Pla ra
and it’s normally very salty.
Now let’s stir fry minced pork until it’s well-cooked and
add chili paste. Now you may add more salt if you prefer it
quite salty. If any of my readers does cook it let me know
and I will bring some boiled vegetables to go with the dish.