Tea Tales not just for tea

By Jennifer Davis

The other night, while strolling the sois of Nimmanhaemin we discovered a delightful new restaurant within a group of other restaurants and bars; Tea Tales of Chiang Mai. We were greeted by the charming owner, Olivier. He is an eager–to-please Frenchman who exudes pride in his venture.

A delightful tea shop during the day, this beautifully appointed space becomes an outstanding restaurant at 6:00 p.m. The menu consists of various International dishes…all of which are lovingly created with the French attention to detail and presentation. We had scallops wrapped in bacon and bruschetta with goat cheese and an authentic Indonesian satay as appetizers. What a wonderful way to begin our meal. When the steamed seafood curry ( #21 Hor Mok Ta Lay) arrived we were amazed at the size of the portion and the magnificent presentation.

The chicken and cashew dish ( #24 Kai Pad Med Ma Maung) and the chicken green curry ( #15 Kang Kiow Wan Kai) were other fabulous choices that we made. Fortunately we had saved room for dessert, because the banana banoffee, the diable noir and the tiramisu were beyond wonderful! These irresistible desserts are available during the day, should you decide to just drop by for tea! When we return we will try the “ham and cheese” sandwich served with French Fries…which is called Welsh in Olivier’s native village in France.

There is a full bar and wine menu. Of course, there is a wall full of tea choices to purchase as well. Entrees range in price from 80 Baht to 250 Baht. A pot of tea is 60 Baht. The quality and quantity far surpasses some “Chiang Mai classics” that I have tried! We are were so impressed with this new gem, that we hope you too, will give Olivier and his extremely talented wife, Kanokwan a chance to become a classic of Chiang Mai. You won’t be disappointed…and they will even remember your name! Enjoy! Tea Tales can be found on Nimmanhaemin Soi 9 and is open daily from 9 a.m. to midnight, dinner service begins at 6 p.m.


Burmese Beef Curry (Ame hnat)

Another Burmese recipe in which you will be able to use any cuts of meat as this would be made with the cheapest cuts in Burma. However, the end result is very tasty, but it does take more than three hours of cooking. In this it is similar to the southern Thai Masaman.

Ingredients                Serves 4
Beef (lean braising)              675 gm
Onions, coarsely chopped     2 large
Garlic, crushed                    2 cloves
Ginger root, fresh, grated     2 tbspns
Vegetable oil                      4 tbspns
Lime juice                             1 lime
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Cooking Method

Cut meat into 1.25 cm cubes. In the wok place the oil and then stir-fry the beef till browned on all sides. Add onions, garlic and ginger root and continue to stir-fry until the onion is transparent.
Boil some water and add 200 ml to the wok, stirring well and then add the lime juice. Sprinkle salt and ground pepper as seasoning, cover the wok and reduce heat to simmer for three and a half hours. Add small amounts of boiling water from time to time if necessary. Finally allow the liquid to evaporate and serve in a warmed dish along with steamed rice.

Kway Swe (Burmese chicken in coconut milk)

A Burmese chicken curry dish this week, but this is not the Khao Soi chicken curry that can be found in Chiang Mai and a few selected restaurants throughout Thailand. This is more spicy and does not have the egg noodle base.

Ingredients                         Serves4
Chicken skinless, boneless       750 gm
Onions chopped                        2 large
Garlic minced                           8 cloves
Green chillies (seeded and chopped) 2
Red chilli sliced                        1
Fresh ginger minced                 1 tspn
Water                                      1 liter
Turmeric powder                      1 tspn
Salt                                       1 tspn
White pepper                        tspn
Vegetable oil                        2 tbspns
Thick coconut milk                375 ml
Fish sauce to taste
Coriander, chopped              2 tbspns

Cooking Method

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and rub with salt and white pepper. Put into saucepan and cover with water, add turmeric and bring to the boil. Remove chicken pieces and reserve the stock.

In the mortar, pound the onion, garlic, ginger and green chillies to a paste and then stir-fry in the wok for five minutes. Add the chicken pieces and fry for another two minutes.

Now add the reserved stock and the coconut milk and simmer until the liquid is slightly thickened and oily. Flavor to taste with salt, then add chopped coriander and sliced red chillies and serve.