Tag Archives: chiang mai

Bon Kitchen (Chiang Mai, Thailand)


When we were last in Chiang Mai for orientation, Lauren looked at TripAdvisor’s restaurant recommendations, even though they are usually a bust for restaurants. While most of the top-rated spots sounded underwhelming to us, the number one restaurant at the time got raves for fresh, tasty, organic food. Bon, the owner, was frustrated with the difficulty in finding healthy Thai food without MSG, so she decided to open her own restaurant to fill that gap.

Enter Bon Kitchen, a small, informal restaurant with simple decor and some of the most artfully presented food in Thailand. Our first dinner there consisted of a spicy three mushroom salad and penang curry, both of which were delicious. The mushroom salad was a variation on yam talay, with mushrooms instead of seafood. We ordered our penang curry “spicy,” and Bon delivered. Her penang had a generous portion of kaffir lime leaves, a modest hand on the coconut milk, and used a homemade curry paste that is Bon’s family’s recipe.

During AJWS orientation in February, we took the other volunteers to Bon Kitchen for a huge family-style meal, where we got to sample most of the food and fruit shakes. While some people raved about the chicken teriyaki, for Lauren and I, the great new discovery was the wing bean salad. We ordered ours with tofu instead of pork, and really enjoyed the sweet and smoky dressing of tamarind, and burnt chilies. A sprinkling of peanuts on top added extra joy and crunchiness. The rest of the dishes were good, but not in the league of the spicy three mushroom salad and penang curry.

This afternoon, even though it was just the two of us, we had to order all three of our favorite dishes for a mid-day feast. They were just as delicious as we remembered, and we lingered over the meal and took advantage of Bon’s free wi-fi. Overall, we’ve enjoyed a lot of tasty, and artfully presented food, at Bon Kitchen. Definitely stop by when you’re in Chiang Mai, we always will!

Kenny enjoying a fruit shake Lauren enjoying her fruit shake
Enjoying fresh fruit shakes before our meals

Spicy mushroom salad
Spicy three mushroom salad

Wing bean salad
Wing bean salad with tofu in a tamarind, coconut, burnt chili dressing

Penang curry
Penang tofu

Organic brown rice
Beautifully presented organic brown rice

Bon Kitchen 
71/10 Sridonchai Road
Chiang Mai, Thailand
+66 08-7800 5410

Daily: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Si Phen (Chiang Mai, Thailand)


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.

Green papaya salad
Green papaya salad

Khao soi
Khao soi

Si Phen chef
Thai chef de cuisine

Si Phen Si Phen menu

Si Phen
103 Th Inthawarorot
Chiang Mai, Thailand
0 5331 5328