I haven’t adjusted to the cold of Melbourne’s Spring weather. Spring is so overrated: there isn’t much difference between the first month of Spring and Winter, except for the presence of daffodils. Unlike Wordsworth, daffodils don’t make me feel gay or jocund, nor do I have time to lie on the couch “in vacant or in pensive mood” thinking about them! A bunch or two of nodding yellow flowers improves the decor, but hardly makes up for the perennial grey of sky that seeps into the dark recesses of the psyche.
To counter this dullness of season and mood, I’m mentally returning to Thailand to complete some unfinished business. Let me introduce Nan, the proprietor of Taste from Heaven restaurant, in Chiang Mai.
Nan owned a Thai restaurant in the Gold Coast, Australia for many years before returning to her home town to open Taste from Heaven some years ago. She is a gracious front of house, keeping a careful eye on the flow of customers, engaging pleasantly with them, as well as being involved in the daily running of the restaurant. I returned to Nan’s “Heaven” at least 7 times whilst in Chiang Mai. To be truthful, I really didn’t want to go anywhere else.
If you are in need of sunshine, warmth or a metaphorical daffodil, these lovely dishes might offer consolation.
We tried so many dishes from the menu and usually ordered far too much. The size of the dishes at ‘Heaven’ are larger than the usual Thai offerings. Often as a starter, to go with a chilled beer, we ordered Grilled Mushrooms with Peanut sauce. I never asked Nan about the mushroom species but they were large and ‘meaty’. The deep-fried Angel mushrooms (below) were also rather ‘moreish’.
We usually shared two or three mains after one entrée, along with rice. At ‘Heaven’ you choose between steamed jasmine rice, in white, brown or black. They are all good. Below, I have featured a few of the sensational dishes we tried. More can be found on my post here.
The eggplant salad was my favourite. I remember the first time I tasted this dish in Narathiwat in 1995; the taste has lingered all these years. The key element is the smoked Thai baby eggplant which are then skinned and lightly mashed, retaining their smoky juices which blend so well with the lime juice and herbal elements. I mentioned to Nan that this dish is slowly disappearing from Thai menus, or if it does turn up, it lacks the oomph provided by the smoke, raw garlic and mint.
- They also run a cookery school, three hours, for 100o baht pp. Sadly, Nan’s assistant was away for a month and so I missed out. Next time for sure.
- At the time of writing, the exchange rate was around 25 Baht to the Australian dollar. Most plates cost around $3-4, with rice at around $1.
Thank you Nan for the delightful food memories.
Taste from Heaven Vegetarian Restaurant
34/1 Ratmakka Road,
T. Prasinhg A. Muang,
Chiang Mai 5020
Open every day from 9am to 10pm
(except Wednesday 9am to 9pm)