Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: Nimmana Haeminda (between lane 6 and lane 10), Suthep Mueang, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Opening Hours: Tue-Sat 11.30am-8.30pm. Closed Sunday & Monday.
Crispy Tofu Tamarind Sauce. As I've mentioned previously, one major advantage Thai cooks have over Singapore (and many other countries) cooks is they have access to fresh good quality locally produced ingredients. I loved the flavour from the chopped tomatoes in this dish. The tomatoes were slightly tangy and sweet, not like the half unripe pale red balls of acid that you find in Singapore supermarkets. The tofu was fried expertly, the outer skin had a delightful chewy texture. The dish was garnished well, with fried shallots, spring onions and tomatoes really improving the overall flavour. The only let down was the tamarind sauce, it really lacked depth in my opinion. It was sweet, and well, that is about it.
Price: 95THB. 7/10
Tempura Mixed Mushrooms. Once again fresh ingredients really do triumph over anything and everything. The oyster mushrooms were juicy and flavourful, and didn't feel heavy or oily, despite being deep fried. The mushrooms come accompanied with some slices of fresh tomato (I love the tomatoes in Thailand) and a sweet and sour dipping sauce. I must say objectively this dish is really over priced.
Price: 140THB. 6/10
Massaman Curry purely as a point of comparison with my beloved Pun Pun curry. This dish is double the price of the massaman at Pun Pun, but to be fair the portion size is much bigger. The fundamentals of this massaman are very similar - There is very little oil, and a nice creamy nutty flavour. They differ in a few aspects - Firstly, the Anchan massaman is significantly sweeter, not something I appreciated. Secondly, the ingredients inside included large pieces of potato, onion, tomatoes and carrots. The pieces of potato were a particularly welcome addition, especially due to the fact they were cooked to perfection. Above average without a doubt, but inferior compared with Pun Pun.
Price: 120THB. 7/10
Conclusion - Is the Anchan hype justified? Yes and no. Most farang's have absolutely no idea about Thai food (or any other cuisine for that matter), so due to the fact that most the positive feedback is from foreigners, it is almost like taking music advice from someone who is deaf. Having said that, I do believe that the food was definitely above average, and it was clear (after peeking into the kitchen) Chef Aye is a very meticulous and clean chef. It is farang pricing here, but once you convert baht into your home currency, I am sure you won't care.
Food - 7/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 5/10