Out in The City

 |  September 29, 2011

Every now and then, every expatriate gets a little pang. An occasional reminder that impinges on their contentment. Something once familiar but now, faraway. A tune on the radio, perhaps, that provokes a memory. An online picture of the test match being played at Lord’s prompts a hankering for the sound of leather on willow and some warm, cask conditioned ale, sipped in an uncomfortable deck-chair with a rumpled copy of The Sunday Times dotted with sandwich crumbs on the lap. Or, it could be another ball game- boules peutetre? Baseball? Or a fellow expat’s reminiscences prod the mind and the result is a little bout of homesickness.

The cure for this common malady cannot be found at the clinic. There are no pills or ointments to apply. The airline desk is too extravagant; besides, you know that the feeling will soon pass, certainly, before you get your boarding pass and probably before you fetch the dusty suitcase from the cupboard. It is not serious. Just an itch. But how to scratch it?

Many gay émigrés find that the answer is served on a plate. Chiang Mai has more than a fair share of eateries, from the common or garden, street food staples to the giddy gourmand delights on offer at a range of up market establishments. However, noodles are not a wistful evocation of the mother country and so many of those posh places with their hi-so, oh-so-styled, dining rooms, do not possess the succour of home. If you are pining, in need of a little bit of the west, out east, La Fourchette, behind Wat Chedi Luang, maybe just what the doctor should have ordered.

Chef, Khun Oh, was born in Bangkok, grew up in Chiang Mai and his Swiss father was the renowned Coq d’Or chef. Oh started by cleaning the kitchens as a boy and picked up plenty of haute cuisine techniques from Pappa. He has a true love for food and love is the most important ingredient in any dish. “I cook classic French food,” he says, “the restaurant is casual and relaxed, the ambience is romantic.” With Lautrec prints on the wall, it feels like a Parisian bistro salon and some nights, as many as 40% of your fellow diners will be gay. La Fourchette food is the perfect remedy for the homesick and the prices are a reminder of how fortunate you are to live in Chiang Mai.

James Barnes is editor-in-chief of OUT in Thailand Magazine.