When we arrived in Mae Hong Son, our guest house owner recommended a nearby restaurant called Rom Jinda. For our first dinner in Mae Hong Son we stopped by to check it out. The environment was warm and inviting, with cushioned seating available inside and an outdoor seating area with a fountain and lots of foliage.
The expansive menu includes Thai, Chinese, and pizza/pasta choices. Our first meal consisted of spicy fish with basil and chilies, and pad see iw. The fish was indeed spicy, with ample chilies and ginger, though river fish is not particularly exciting (we hadn’t yet internalized our landlocked location). The pad see iw was amazing, and was the first time I had pad see iw that rivals my hometown favorite at Jamjuree. The noodles are seeped in dark soy sauce and prepared with very fresh morning glory, carrots, cauliflower, and tofu.
We quickly became regulars at Rom Jinda, which we affectionately nicknamed “RJ” by our second week in Mae Hong Son (at which point we had probably eaten there six times). On our second visit I realized that the Thai dishes on the menu were separated into two sections. The three-page section at the front was labeled “Thai food”, and towards the back was a single page of dishes labeled “Easy Thai Food”. While the only commonality that I originally noticed among the “Easy Thai” choices (which included pad see iw) is that they were all 35 Baht, I later learned that the “Easy Thai” section covered a set of dishes on offer at most local food stalls.
While the menu listed the dishes in English, over time the wait staff educated me on the food’s Thai names and pronunciation. I think this was partially because they were really nice and partially because they got a huge kick out of correcting me when I’d err on my farang pronunciation (tonal languages are hard!). We learned a few off-menu specials such as yam rom, the house salad of greens, fried mushrooms, onions, mint, peanuts, and the traditional Thai dressing of lime and chilies.
It was also at RJ that I received my introduction to pad prik giang, a stir fry with red curry paste that is prepared slightly differently everywhere and is top-notch at RJ. Most of our meals at RJ consist of pad see ew, and either pad prik giang or giang kiew wan (green curry), or both if we bring another friend along for dinner. I’ve also enjoyed their spicy seafood salad and their pad thai.
Overall, I love Rom Jinda. It’s certainly the best atmosphere in town and, while not every dish is a standout, I dream about their green curry, pad see iw, and pad prik giang. We no longer live two blocks away from RJ, but it’s worth the uphill bike ride to get our regular curry and pad see iw fix.
Corner of Nivet Pisarn and Ratchatampituck
Mae Hong Son, Thailand
Daily: 12:00PM-3:00PM (Lunch), 5:00PM-10:00PM (Dinner)