This morning we moved locations to Ping Buri Hotel for our AJWS orientation, near Wat Phra Singh. One of the places I remember from the last time we were in Chiang Mai is Si Phen, just across the street from Wat Phra Singh and a short walk from our new hotel. I remembered the pomelo salad being particularly delicious.
We found Si Phen easily, and the open garage setting was just as we remember from last year. However, I must have had my wires crossed on what food we had where since they don’t have a pomelo salad available. We pressed on, and ordered a green papaya salad and khao soi gai (which is probably what we actually ate last time).
The papaya salad was delicious, one of the better ones we’ve had in Thailand. It’s a mix of green papaya, napa cabbage, peanuts and green beans, tossed with a clean lime/fish sauce dressing. There was no hint of the dried shrimp taste usually keeps me away from Thai papaya salad, and I find that peanuts are always a good addition.
Khao soi is a classic northern Thai dish that consists of yellow noodles in a curry soup. The one at Si Phen is topped with crispy noodles and napa cabbage. It was well-spiced and the meat on the chicken leg was tender and fell right off the bone. If you’ve never tried khao soi before, this is a great place to get your introduction.
Overall, a delicious and cheap (~2USD total) meal served by a friendly Thai chef. If you get hungry near Wat Phra Singh you should check out Si Phen to take care of the problem.
UPDATE (2/15/2010): Turns out that my memory isn’t faulty and they used to have pomelo salad. Courtesy of the interwebs, here’s the review from the previous Lonely Planet edition (in our version the pomelo reference has been removed):
This inexpensive stopover specialises in both northern- and northeastern-style dishes. The kitchen prepares some of the best sôm-tam (spicy papaya salad) in the city, including a variation made with pomelo fruit.
103 Th Inthawarorot
Chiang Mai, Thailand
0 5331 5328