A Life of Rice
Thailand is synonymous with rice. We eat rice daily (well, until 7-Elevens popped up everywhere) and many of our customs and traditions have come from rice cycles and activities. We even have a national holiday in homage of rice – the Royal Ploughing Day. So this month we thought we would bring you three restaurants where rice isn’t just served as a staple afterthought, but where the white grains of joy are the actual star of the show!
Meena Rice Based Cuisine
Gimmicks can side-line a restaurant into irrelevancy or, if done with thought, creativity and consistency, can propel a restaurant into something great. We think that Meena, with its ‘All Things Rice’ hook is genius. Old fashioned wooden rice barns, adorable pots of rice seedlings and old rice accoutrements as decor and a simple home grown atmosphere is just the backdrop to its unique menu. Thirsty? Try the rice berry herbal drink made from rice water. Still not cooled off? Nibble on their rice ice cubes served in pandan rice berry juice. Your rice will be served in a kaleidoscopic presentation of five coloured rice – all natural of course – and make sure you order the deep fried shrimps in sticky rice batter, the baked ribs with rice berries, the delightful oatmeal pork lab as well as the extra-portion-for-doggy-bag-please yam sticky mountain corn.
10am-5pm Closed on Wednesdays
Ban Mon, Soi 11 Sankampaeng
087 177 0523
It is summer; it’s sweltering and sizzling. It is also the time for the King of Rice Dishes – khao chae. This dish is believed to have originated from the Mon people (same people as the original inhabitants of Chiang Mai), but its first record was during the reign of King Rama II. It has since been synonymous with the royal palace and because of its complexity and being incredibly time-consuming to make, was in the past very hard to find outside certain Bangkok restaurants. Well, look no further, Pruksa serves up delicious khao chae: rice in iced jasmine water, kapi (shrimp paste) balls, stuffed shallots, stuffed sweet peppers, shredded sweetened pork, sweet pickled turnips with eggs and fresh veggies and fruits. If you have never tried this refreshing royal dish, you must head over there and check it out. Only 189 baht throughout May.
10 Bunruengrit Road
053 277 722, 086 918 6116
Chiang Mai Rice Life
When Peach, a 28 year old man, returned home to Chiang Mai after studying graphics in Sydney, he wanted to do something different. Being from a well-to-do family, Peach asked his parents for a large parcel of paddy fields they owned in Sankampaeng and started to study rice – as you do! He has since created a highly successful rice farm and through his research has turned it into a rice study station. Farmers and students come from all over to visit and learn and soon he opened up a coffee shop on-premises, selling prettily packaged rice from the farm, which has taken off. Come for a cold cappuccino or a sweet slice of cake and walk around the farm. Peach loves to talk rice, so pop on by and have a chat or simply sit and watch the sun set over the pretty fields.
Open Daily, 9am-6pm
123/3 Ban Mon, Moo 1, Sanklang, Sankamphaeng
091 554 4152