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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy Green Restaurant - Chiang Mai, Thailand

Happy Green is a vegetarian eatery (with vegan options) located on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, on the bank of the Ping River.  Unlike most of the eateries in town, Happy Green does retain some authentic Thai culture in its ambiance and food.  Don't get me wrong, the primary audience here is still foreigners (the place didn't have any locals when I visited), however, I felt Happy Green hasn't sold its soul, and maintains a very 'real' vibe.  The place may be a little tricky to get to (if you don't drive it is going to be hell), but if you have the freedom of a scooter or car, then you shouldn't have much difficulty finding the place.









Happy Green Restaurant
Location: 4/3 Moo 3 Pa Daet Road, Tambol Pa Daet, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Contact: 085-5989010
Opening Hours: Daily 9.30am-7.00pm.  Closed on Monday. 


There are two options at Happy Green, you can opt for the buffet or the a la carte menu - Or do what we did, and get both.
The buffet consists of brown rice, salad, and an assortment of tofu, curries and other dishes, which are all kept in large metallic pots near the counter.
This is the first round of our Vegetarian Buffet.  The price of this buffet is just 80 baht, which is a quite minuscule $2 dollars (US) plus.  Needless to say, if you are a budget traveler looking to filling yourself to bursting point, then this buffet will represent excellent value.  In terms of the food, it is all simply cooked healthy food.  It is nothing dazzling or special, but satisfying.

Price: 80THB.     7/10
When a typical farang scrolls through a menu in a Thai restaurant, Pad Thai is one of those dishes that causes their eyes to sudden become bigger.  It is one of the few Thai dishes that has achieved universal recognition.  Frankly, it has never been a dish I've enjoyed that much, and it is one of the few dishes at Pun Pun which I believe is poorly done.  However, this pad thai was definitely above average.  The pad thai sauce was flavourful (not the typical tomato ketchup style) and the chef managed to capture the aroma of the wok.  I loved the strips of tofu and string beans that were inside.  I would have preferred to have seen the peanut, chilli, sugar and lime combination that is usually added to the side of the plate for pad thai - But other than that it was a well executed dish.

Price: 60THB.     7/10
Easily the best dish we tried from Happy Green was the Laab.  The origins of this dish is stemming from Laos, however over the years it has slowly made its way into Northern Thailand, presumably from Lao immigrants.  Laab traditionally is a meat salad dish, which relies on a myriad of fresh herbs (the key to all great Lao cuisine).  Happy Green uses scrambled tofu to replace the meat, which works really well.  I loved the raw onions and fresh Thai basil that was scattered through the tofu.  The dish also had a good amount of heat, but not too overpowering.  I loved this dish!

Price: 60THB.     9/10







Still angry about the pathetic excuse of a pumpkin curry that I ordered from Free Bird Cafe, I must admit I was a little skeptical about ordering this Pumpkin Curry.  Thankfully, I can say that it is much better than Free Bird.  Firstly, it was actually a curry and had strong flavour, I loved the natural sweetness from the pumpkin.  The curry sauce was good, but I found myself unable to consume much of it due to the extreme levels of spice.  I am no novice when it comes to taking spicy food, but I must admit this curry was a level too high for me.  I ended up just picking out the ingredients, simply unable to take any of the sauce without being reduced to tears.

Price: 60THB.     7/10




Conclusion - Happy Green represents one of the better vegetarian eateries in Chiang Mai, it is offers authentic no nonsense Thai food in its truest form.  Vegetarian food in the city centre tends to be overrated and overpriced, what I've discovered is the best (and most authentic) food can be found on the outskirts, in places like Happy Green and Pun Pun (you end up paying half the price also).  Definitely somewhere I would visit again, the owner is really jovial too.

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 8/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 8/10

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