A Taste of the North, Tong Tem Toh, Chiang Mai, Thailand

food norther alllI always ask my friend Will about places to eat. Why? He’s single, he’s young, and he doesn’t have a kitchen. So these three things conspire against him (sure) and force him (poor thing) to go out to eat every night…

And not just any old place, mind you. I mean, he could go to a rice or noodle shop and eat 30 Baht bowls of mediocre intestine laden and incredibly average Thai food—or worse, backpacker, no taste, phony Thai dishes that you can get near the gate. No, not our Will, he’s got hi-so taste in food, which doesn’t surprise me, since he’s from the west coast, and most west coasters, especially those from a big city enjoy their food…

So go Will!

Will seems to find good food at affordable prices so he has become my go to guy for food advice—Like, “hey Will, where is a good place to eat?” “You mean cheap?” “Yeah, sure if it’s cheap and it’s good, so much the better…”

Will suggested, Tong Tem Toh, which according to my wife means “full table,” when translated into English from Thai. Well, that’s exactly what we came upon when we headed down to Nimman Road about 6:30 for dinner. The place was crowded and there was a wait, reminding me of my New York days, Friday dinner with friends and always waiting. Which wasn’t that bad, since the food was worth it…

Now Thai’s can be gracious, no pretentions for such a fancy place, and our host gave us a menu, and a piece of paper and pencil. So we sat and looked at the menu deciding on seven or so dishes, me passing on the chicken with ant eggs, promising my wife we’d wait for a special occasion to try this, maybe my 100th birthday party, I told her.

We soon had a table near a big tree—it’s an outdoor place, and the evening was cool and slightly rainy season overcast.

One of the first things I did was count the number of foreigners, seven of us, the remainder well-dressed Thai’s enjoying an evening out. The beautiful people of Chiang Mai, though the place had pretty ugly people prices, which I like. Spot on Will and glad we weren’t eating in the company of fat sweaty German’s or kids that looked like they were transported to Thailand directly from Woodstock. Not Woodstock 2, but the original Woodstock—Beware of the brown Acid.

I’m happy, and so is the wife as she drinks from a somewhat fancy looking fake silver bowl, old style Thailand, she tells me. The food was great! And the price, well 488 baht for dinner, about 15 USD and you can’t beat that for a Friday night out when the food is pretty amazing, and the atmosphere equally so…I recommend the Burmese style curry!



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