Long time Chiang Mai favorite

Chez Marco

By Shana Kongmun

While I have only been in Chiang Mai for a year and a half, Chez Marco quickly became a favorite. Not just for the outstanding food at reasonable prices, or the attentive wait staff, or the handsome and smiling chef but for the convivial atmosphere the restaurant has.

The duck with apples is tender and delicious with the right touch of tart and sweet.

Somehow, I assumed everyone knew of Chez Marco and the delicious French food he served but was quite surprised to find a friend of mine who lives on the outskirts of town asking me, “Where is it? I’ve never heard of it.” So, I detailed my dinner for him. We started with the raw oysters that Marco gets flown in and that are available only on Fridays (if you are keen its best to call up and pre-order). Then we had the amazing pan fried foie gras for a starter. Delicious and tender, and yes, heart attack on a plate as I called it.

I ordered my favorite, the duck with apples. The duck is tender and not greasy, the apples add just the right touch of sweet and tart to the dish. It comes with mashed potatoes and at only 250 Baht is a bargain for the quality of the food. Another popular dish is the beef filet with chocolate sauce, and while it sounds a little odd, the taste is divine. The Beef Carpaccio is tender and flavored nicely with a good mix of tart and savory.

Another friend had the Coq Au Vin, and while I am not a big fan of chicken, it was tender and the meat came off the bone. The meat was a rich brown color from the wine and the plate, while generous was not too much.

Scott Taylor of Soho Bar gets ready to enjoy his Beef Carpaccio.

We didn’t have dessert as we were too full from the meal, but I have eaten the chocolate mousse there in the past and always enjoyed it, but then I am the person who never says no to chocolate!
All in all, the food at Chez Marco has been consistently good, the service mostly hit and a few times miss but, be warned, even on weeknights, reservations may be required.

Are there drawbacks in Chez Marco? Well, it does not have a quiet, romantic atmosphere, but rather open and a bit noisy from the groups the meet to dine there. It’s a popular place for friends to gather and it feels more like a village restaurant with the happy buzz of satisfied customers. Another drawback is its location on Loi Kroh where parking can be troublesome. I tend to hop a songthaew or tuk tuk there since its just as easy to get one back.

Located at 15/27 Loi Kroh Road, Chez Marco can be reached at 053-207-032 and is open from 5 pm to late, closed on Sundays.


Iced Pepper Soup

This is another recipe given to me by the inventive Chef Santo Zoppis. With the rising temperatures, cold soups are very attractive. Santo says there is 20 minutes of preparation time, another 20 minutes of cooking time and then there is almost 3 hours in cooling and then chilling. There is also the “secret ingredient” prepared the day beforehand!

Ingredients Serves 4 to 5
Thai basil                        15 gm
Red bell peppers            230 gm
Onions                          100 gm
Ripe tomatoes               200 gm
Chicken stock                900 ml
Fresh milk                      150 ml
Salt and pepper

Cooking Method

Chop the basil and place into an ice cube tray, top up with water and freeze. (Ice cubes with basil to be prepared the day before).

Clean and slice the red bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. Place bell peppers in a large pot with the onions, tomatoes, chicken stock and the milk. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Pour into a blender and blend at high speed until smooth, then strain.

Adjust the seasoning with the Tabasco, salt and pepper. Cool for 30 minutes then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Finally, place a sweet basil ice cube into each soup cup and serve.

Chicken in Orange/Soy sauce

This recipe is based on an old Indonesian dish known as “Ajam berkuah jerik manis dan soya”. A true stir-fry, it does however take some time in the cooking stage, as you have to make sure the chicken drumsticks are cooked through.

Ingredients           Serves 4
Chicken drumsticks                 12
Vegetable oil                 3 tbspns
Onion, chopped                1 large
Garlic, chopped fine          1 clove
Chilli paste                        1 tspn
Orange juice (no pulp)     5 tbspns
Lemon juice                   2 tbspns
Chicken dipping sauce    4 tbspns
Palm sugar                     1 tbspn
Corn flour                        2 tspns
Salt as required
Water as required

Cooking Method

Rub the chicken drumsticks lightly with salt. Heat the oil in the wok and add the onion and fry until transparent. Add chicken and stir-fry for eight minutes. Now add garlic and chilli pastes and add the orange and lemon juice, chicken dipping sauce and five tablespoons boiling water.

Stir and add the palm sugar then bring to the boil and simmer for three minutes.
Mix the corn flour with two tablespoons of cold water then add to the liquid in the wok, stirring thoroughly as it thickens. Make sure you move all the drumsticks through the thickening sauce and simmer for another two minutes.

Arrange the drumsticks on a warm serving dish and pour the sauce over them and serve immediately.