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Compass Restaurant points West

By Heather Allen
Chiang Mai favorite West used to be located at the corner of Sirimangkalajarn and Huay Kaew Road in that odd site that seemed to be mainly a huge parking lot. I ate there a few times, really enjoying the delicious food and even the atmosphere as, despite the overwhelming parking lot, the restaurant itself was quite charming. But of course, the main goal of eating out is the food and the food was always excellent.
Then the bulldozers came, tore down the entire complex to build yet another condo complex (and construction has still not started yet!) and West moved and changed its name. I confess I had lost track of it until the owner died a few months ago and a good friend reminded me that West was now Compass and actually not as difficult to find as I had thought. Somehow, I had it in my head it was on the Prince Royals side of the river, around there somewhere but of course I was completely wrong. Compass is located near River Market actually, if you are coming down the road, go past the Iron Bridge and the end of Loi Kroh and it is just there on the left hand side. Tucked in next to Tiger Trails and a few other businesses.

So, having now found it, I ate there and found the food as excellent as it had been when it was called West and was located in the West of town. The same well – trained chef runs the kitchen (and the business) and is just as charming and just as skilled. The dishes are large enough to fill you up but not so large that you gasp and think, “Oh dear that is just too much.” I do not follow the American trend of more is better as I tend to think that some places make up for a lack of quality food by providing enormous plates of food.
Compass is not guilty of this crime, offering really delicious food; I had creamy garlic chicken – an appetizer apparently but enough for me. My friend had a burger that came with fries. He said it was excellent. Another had pasta and said it was quite tasty, al dente without being too chewy. The prices are quite reasonable and whilst I did not try the desserts they looked as fabulous as they always have been. Highly recommended to re-visit but be aware that he is a bit short staffed at the moment so wait patiently, it is worth it.

RECIPES BY NOI: Kua Jin or stir fried pork with chili paste

Today’s recipe is quite easy to make as far as ingredients are concerned, because all we need is tons of pork!

On big and important occasions such as house-warming ceremonies, weddings or other ceremonies the villagers will have 3 big days for the event. One day before the ceremony day is “Preparation day” All fresh ingredients are obtained and the place has to be decorated and prepared on that day

Then comes the cerebration day or another word “Eat and drink day”
Very often at the end of the party we have some meat left and usually not the best meats as normally the best parts were cooked for the day. Laab, Luh and Sah are a must for a party and they require the best cuts of meat.

The day after the party is called “The cleaning day” It’s the day that friends and family (except guests which probably left right away after the party is ended) come to help the host clean up the place. That day leftover meat will be cooked for everyone.

Just pound the chili paste which has dry chili, garlic, shallot, lemongrass and salt together, stir fry it until we have a good smell and then add the meat in. We need medium heat for this. Keep stirring until the meat is cooked then add chopped kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. After removing from the heat let’s add chopped coriander a little for fresh smell at the end.

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