Chiang Mai / 29th - 31st October 2016
Day 3 (in chronological order)
Conclusion: Reflections on trip to Chiang Mai
Lunch @ Le Spice Restaurant (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
This is one of the many halal restaurants located along Charnoen Prathet 6 Alley, north section of Chang Klan road. It seemed that this place doesn’t want to be just an ordinary food place by the street. It wanted to be more than that. The service was professional and polite. The restaurant was thoughtfully designed. The food was flavourful, served quickly and most importantly affordable.
It was almost 4:30 pm after I checked into The Peaberry Hotel. I hadn’t eaten anything since the SilkAir’s in-flight meal. Kishore, the manager of The Peaberry Hotel had told me earlier that it would be unlikely that I find any halal food around the western side area of the old city walls.
So I decided to hail a Songthaew to drive me to the “Halal Street Hilal Town” street which is at the eastern side of the old city walls. The driver charged me 40 baht, 20 baht more than he would typically charge the locals. It took him about 15 minutes to get me to Charoen Prethet 1 Alley.
There was a row of restaurants selling halal food along Charoen Prethet 1 Alley. As I walked along that road, I wasn’t sure if any of the restaurants were opened for business. So, I walked out of the alley and walked towards Le Meridien Chiang Mai. I knew there are a few other halal restaurants near the hotel.
As I approach the hotel, on my left, I saw a sign “Le Spice – Indian Thai Seafood restaurant.” I walked towards it, and I was glad the restaurant looked more “open for business” than the restaurants I saw earlier. Immediately, I went in.
Le Spice – left side view of the frontage.
Le Spice – right side view of the frontage.
I wasn’t alone. There were two Indian families and their tour guide.
The menu at the entrance. The food was affordable, from 99 baht (US$2.80) to 189 baht (US$5.30).
Part of the menu wonderfully written on a chalkboard.
Another part of the menu wonderfully written on another chalkboard.
Probably to add to the “Islamic ambience”, there were pictures of Afghanis on the walls.
Fixed settee on the wall with some cushions.
The restaurant looked very presentable and clean. The chalkboard menu, the golden yellow walls, the cushions in various earthy colors and the Turkish lamps gave a hippie and gypsy feel to it.
A lady, who looked a mix of Thai and Indian approached me smiling with the menu. I was in slight awe looking at her because I have never seen a person who is a mix of Thai and Indian parentage before. She spoke English to me and spoke Thai (very) fluently to her fellow colleagues.
I told her I would like a Coke, chicken fried rice, breaded prawns and sweet and sour chicken.
The Coke came first, almost immediately after she left taking my order.
Followed by an exotic set of cultery. It looked deceivingly made of copper or brass. But it was very light. Probably made from a type of plastic composite?
And lastly, about 10 minutes later, the food came.
Breaded prawns served with a sweet sour chilli sauce.
The breaded prawn dish was my favorite dish among the three I ordered. I felt the prawns were skilfully coated with breadcrumbs and then cooked perfectly. I loved the fact that the crispy surface was distinctly separated from the almost fluffy prawn meat beneath it. When I bit and chewed the top part of the prawn, I could easily distinguish between the crunchy texture of the batter and the soft, tender prawn meat. I felt I understood clearly what was in my mouth. It wasn’t a confusing dish. The sweet sour chilli sauce that came with the prawns tasted wonderful, but I didn’t think it was made from scratch.
Chicken fried rice served with Thai green chilli sauce.
I couldn’t say much about the chicken fried rice because the taste was all too familiar for me to say anything about it. It tasted like most Thai chicken fried rice sold in Singapore. It tasted good because it wasn’t cooked in an unordinary way. I felt homesick eating it.
Sweet and sour chicken.
Frankly, I found the taste of the sweet and sour chicken dish slightly incomprehensible. One sip of the sauce offered me heavy splashes of distinct sour and sweet flavors all over my mouth. It seemed that the sour flavour and the sweet flavour were trying to overpower each other to win over my palate. My tongue was stuck in the middle of an unwinnable battle. I reckon that more pineapple juice and corn starch and fewer tomatoes would have tamed the competing flavors, making them more equalizing and acceptable for my taste buds.
There was a function room at level 2.
Overall, I felt that the food served was tasty and expertly cooked. And the food wasn’t expensive at all. The service was warm and the servers were full of smiles.
I had a strong suspicion that their strength lies in cooking Indian dishes, not just Thai. I planned to visit this restaurant again the next day after checking into Le Meridien Chiang Mai to sample one of their Indian dishes.