Happy Green Restaurant
Location: 4/3 Moo 3 Pa Daet Road, Tambol Pa Daet, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Opening Hours: Daily 9.30am-7.00pm. Closed on Monday.
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
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
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
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.
Food - 7/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 8/10