Vol. V No. 6 - February 4 - February 10, 2006
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by Saichon Paewsoongnern, assisted by Teeraphon Deepet.



Dining Out at Hinlay Curry Restaurant

When Pongsak Wata-nanun was growing up in Chiang Mai, a family from India lived nearby. Every evening young Pongsak would smell enticing aromas coming from their kitchen, but he never had the opportunity to eat their curry. He graduated from high school, and then went to Australia to complete a business degree. And there in Australia he began to eat curries, those wonderful spicy dishes originating in India but adopted all over Asia. And he began to learn to cook them, a passion that he has continued for twenty-five years.

A few months ago, he opened Hinlay Curry restaurant on the grounds of the family home. But the restaurant doesn’t limit itself to Hinlay-type curry. There are also Madras, pa-
nang, massala, massaman and Burmese curries – shrimp, chicken, pork and beef. Each is prepared with different ingredients, but the meat dishes are prepared ahead of time and cooked slowly to tenderize the meat and allow the flavors to meld. If you like curry, try some of these.

Hinlay Curry is a small open-air restaurant, very casual, so this is the perfect time of the year to dine there. We were served a sampling of four curries with roti and a large salad. We were instructed to eat shrimp then chicken, pork then beef. Each curry was to be separated by an amount of salad to cleanse the palate and allow us to better taste the next dish.

The curries are served with a choice of rice, roti or spaghetti, but the Dining Out team preferred the roti. We began our meal with a spicy shrimp curry. As one who often finds local shrimp dishes to be bland, I was delighted by the “zing” in this white curry sauce. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, tender but firm. The roti balanced the spice, and made a nice contrast. I would definitely try this dish again. It’s new and not yet listed on the menu, but ask for it if you want a real treat. We tried a little of the salad, which was fresh and crisp with mixed lettuces, tomatoes, cucumber and onion. A small bottle of homemade salad dressing accompanied it. It was indeed at tasty change, and readied us for the next curry. The mixed salads are priced at 20 to 50 baht, depending upon the size ordered.

The next dish was tender, falling off of the bone Madras chicken curry. We were able to easily cut it with the serving spoon, which brings to mind a word to the wise from Gina. This is the flu season. Insist on serving spoons when you eat out. Your dinner partner may be innocently harboring a virus, or you may be. And with that out of the way, let’s return to the curry. The chicken was quite tasty and priced at only 45 to 55 baht per serving, depending on whether you choose rice or roti as the accompaniment.

Salad followed, and we moved on to the Hinlay pork curry. This was our favorite. It had just enough spice but not too much. The meat was tender and tasty, the sauce rich. We mopped up the little bowl with our roti. Not a drop left. This delicious dish is 45 to 55 baht per serving. We finished off the salad with a satisfying crunch or two, and began the Hinlay beef curry. Beef is not generally one of my favorite meats in Thailand, having encountered beef on more than one occasion that tasted like aging water buffalo. Nevertheless, we were game to try it and found it very tender. This dish also comes in multiple sizes at 55 to 65 baht.

Hinlay Curry offers a wide variety of drinks from coffee and tea to Singha and Heineken beer. All teas are priced at 35 baht, and coffee begins at 35 baht for the Caf้ Americano and goes up to 45 baht for caf้ latte. Beers range from 45 to 50 baht. The restaurant also serves some delectable looking desserts, but we were far too full to try them. Look for us again at Hinlay Curry.

Hinlay Curry, 8/1 Nha Wat Gate Soi 1. Open daily 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., parking inside, reservations not needed, take away available.

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