One night, there was talk of going to a cultural show to have dinner and see some dancing. I can’t say I was particularly thrilled as my experiences of these “experiences” have never been good. However, when I learned that these dinner/shows are also frequented by Thai tourists, I realised that perhaps it wouldn’t be so geared towards foreigners. Off we went. It was a definitely a slick operation as they’d sent minibuses to pick us up from the hotel.

When we entered the room, we were led to a large table since we were a large group; those who arrived earlier were seated around lower tables on the floor. This Khantoke dinner was presented to us as soon as we’d settled in – this style of eating is a traditional northern Thai (Lanna) form of eating. A low round tray is set in the middle with a number of dishes laid out on it and people sit around it. Sticky rice is eaten alongside the food and everything is usually eaten by hand. We stuck to forks and spoons though! Servers came around during the meal to refill any dish that we’d finished.

Khantoke Dinner

Clockwise from the top, we have: fried chicken, mee krob (fried rice vermicelli in a sweet and slightly spicy sauce), fried bananas, green chili and aubergine dip, Burmese pork curry, stir fried cabbage, chili and tomato and pork dip, fried pork rinds (to dip), and in the middle, raw vegetables (also to dip). There was also a vegetable soup to start, both steamed and sticky rice to eat with, and fried sweet crispy rice cakes for dessert. Nothing was spiced too heavily, I’m guessing for the palates of the foreigners but there were still a few dishes that stood out for me. They were the Burmese pork curry (very nice – deeply savoury and good with sticky rice) and the chili, tomato and pork dip (mmm….dippy goodness). I found this surprising as I don’t usually expect much from mass produced food.

Further information about khantoke dining can be found in this article.

Oh, and the entertainment was good too! Photos from the shows can be found on my Flickr photostream.

Old Chiangmai Cultural Center
185/3 Wualai Rd
Chiang Mai, Thaia