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Peking Duck served with steamed pancakes & condiments
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Thursday, 20-May-2004 00:00
Chinese Restaurant & Mushroom Suki (and TEA!)
Up to now I've mostly reviewed places that are on the cheaper end of the scale, with lots of attention for small restaurants, food stalls and Thai market food. Today we're going for something special though, at an up-market Chinese 'Pattakarn'. 'Pattakarn' is Thai for 'up-market restaurant', and then mostly Chinese restaurants. Ordinary restaurants are called 'raan ahaan', which translates literally as 'food shop'. Almost all restaurants in Thailand, also the bigger ones, still call themselves raan ahaan in a very down to earth way, but there are some distinctly posh places that call themselves 'pattakarn's. I personally feel a healthy reluctance to trying over-the-top looking places, as I firmly believe in paying for food and not for 'image', or for those evening-gown clad hostesses at the entrance or a personal waitress at your table eager to re-fill your beer after every sip. But I was in luck with this place, there really is a lot to like about it, and I can't honestly qualify many dishes as all that expensive!

Perhaps the main positive surprise for me at this place was perhaps not even their big range of mushrooms imported from China, which you can eat 'suki' style, by boiling them in broth/soup at your table. Or even the range of other Chinese favorites, like the excellent dim sum, suckling pig or Peking duck.. The main surprise was the tea. The very fragrant, 'perfumy' Chinese tea with 8 different herbs & spices in them. And the way in which they serve it, from a very large brass kettle with an outrageously long spout. I bet that takes a lot of practice to serve tea like that, check out http://chanchao.fotopages.com/?entry=109742&back=http://chanchao.fotopages.com/?page=0(all 12 photos).. Oh yes, this tea cost just 20 baht per person, including unlimited refills! Those are my kind of prices.. With the also excellent dim sum priced at 30 baht per bamboo steam-tray of 3-4 pieces, I can just see myself going here just for the dim sum, some appetizers & tea and really not drop a lot of money..

Of course if you want to spend money then you can: the Chinese 'heavies' also feature on the menu, like shark fin soup, a whole suckling pig at 600 baht, or Peking Duck for 420 baht. But that does give you a lot of food.. For the Peking Duck they serve you the crispy skin first with sauces, spring onions and the Chinese steamed 'mu-shi' pancakes to wrap them in. Then the actual duck meat can be prepared any style you like. There's enough meat to do 2 or even 3 dishes, the first is included in the 420 baht, and any additional dish is 80 baht extra. So when you order the Peking Duck with 2 additional duck dishes then you drop 500 baht. Really this is best done with a group of people. While you can probably finish it all with 2 or 3 people, you will be a little 'ducked out' afterwards.. :-)

I didn't try the mushroom suki yet, I'm not a huge fan of suki and the incredibly annoying commercials of Thailand's biggest suki chain don't help either, but then again I know some mushroom-freaks who will be delighted to try all the weird mushrooms on offer.

Mushroom Suki Restaurant (Pattakarn Suki Hed) is on Aom Muang road, the southern stretch of the inner ring road, on the corner of Chiang Mai Land road.

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