Chiang Mai has for many years been one of Thailand’s great culinary destinations; its myriad of restaurants, cafes, noodle shops and street food spots thrilling locals and tourists with a scintillating choice of flavours and tastes for all budgets.
The Michelin Guide Thailand has helped take Chiang Mai’s culinary message to both a wider global audience and larger domestic demographic, opening up the world of Michelin-rated food in all its various forms to the initiated and the uninitiated alike.
With the advent of COVID-19 and its harsh effects on the food and beverage industry and dining sector, many eateries of various types from corner noodle shops to luxury hotel restaurants have taken to food delivery services in an effort to generate much-needed revenue.
Some restaurants are doing well with food delivery although they are quick to state that home delivery just isn’t the same as in-house patrons when it comes to potential revenue generation; that’s according to the Chiang Mai Restaurant and Bistro Association, which was formed in February 2020, and soon after found itself at the forefront of efforts to help the city’s restaurants, cafes, bistros, and other eateries survive through the ongoing pandemic.
The Michelin Plate-rated China Kitchen restaurant in the Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai is one example. Offering authentic Szechuan cuisine, the outlet is opening its doors for dine-in lunchtime patrons from Wednesday to Sunday, while offering takeaway and delivery service of its a la carte Dim Sum menu from late morning to mid-afternoon.
Like many establishments, the Michelin’s Bib Gourmand-rated restaurant Saiyud and Doctor Sai Kitchen promotes its delivery and takeaway service through regular Facebook postings together with a promotion – a 10 percent discount (15 percent for medical personnel) for orders of 500 Baht or more with free delivery within 10 km.
The 2021 Michelin Guide Thailand, released in December 2020, gives 20 eateries in the Northern Thai city a Bib Gourmand rating. The Bib Gourmand rating recognises eateries that offer quality cuisine carefully prepared and reasonably priced with very good value for money at a maximum price of 1,000 Baht (three-course meal of starter, main course and dessert).
The Bib Gourmand label may be new for most venues, but in the case of Go Neng and Rotee Pa Day the food they cook up certainly isn’t unknown to their customers, as both places have been in business for over 30 years. Go Neng serves the ever-popular Thai snack pa tong ko, which are deep-fried puffy and crispy dough sticks. Rotee Pa Day offers 20 flavours of roti that are a local favourite, crispy on the outside and chewy inside.
This latest, fourth, edition of the Michelin Guide Thailand also sees well-known restaurant Charoen Suan Aek, serving Northern Thai dishes like sour and spicy soup of Gurmar leaves (Phak Chiang Da) with roasted and dried local fish, promoted from the Michelin Plate to Bib Gourmand rating.
The Michelin Plate rating signifies eateries providing a good meal, capably prepared with fresh ingredients and good cooking, and in Chiang Mai there are close to 30 establishments now given this distinction. This includes nine new to the list, among them a restaurant with a whole lot of history called Kiti Panit – serving authentic Lanna food in the traditional setting of an historical mansion dating back to the 1880s. Recommended dishes include the Northern Thai curry Hang Le, grilled chicken salad with coriander and the durian tart.
Food For You is also new to the Michelin Plate list, which for over 20 years has been serving up Thai food using fresh seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms with meals served chef’s table style.