Chiang Mai, Thailand Restaurant Review: Khun Churn

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Travel | 0 comments

Chiang Mai is a city that is made for vegans, with vegetarian and vegan restaurants on just about every corner (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but there are very many). As a result, choosing where to eat can be a bit overwhelming. So when I arrived, I asked a few colleagues and friends that live in Chiang Mai what they would recommend.

My mum and I had our first dinner at Khun Churn, which was recommended because of their vegetarian buffet.  When we arrived on a Thursday evening, we realized that the buffet was just for lunch and so ordered from the menu instead.

Miang Ta-Krai

Miang Ta-Krai

We started off with some Miang Ta-Krai, one of my favorite Thai appetizers.  Instead of preparing our own, these ones came already prepared and ready to eat. With a mix of lemongrass, roasted sesame, ground peanuts, roasted coconut, cilantro and chili paste on Cha-Plu leaves, these little bits packed serious flavor. They were absolutely delicious.

Crispy Rice Cakes with Peanut Coconut Sauce

Crispy Rice Cakes with Peanut Coconut Sauce

The crispy rice cakes with a peanut and coconut milk dipping sauce were also really good. The mild sauce was a lovely, creamy, very peanutty concoction that paired perfectly with the crispy rice cakes.  I have some Thai crispy rice cakes at home, just waiting to be eaten, so the sauce is definitely going on my “must recreate” list.

Lap Pla

Laab Pla

Unfortunately, the meal went downhill from there.  For a main course we ordered the laab pla, which was minced oyster mushrooms, stir-fried with chopped mint, ground roasted rice, spring onion, and other herbs.  I was not a fan. The mint dominated and the texture was like baby food.  Not a great combination. 

Tofu Pad Kra Pao Scramble?  (Apologies for bad photo)

Tofu Pad Kra Pao Scramble?
(Apologies for bad photo)

We also ordered a tofu pad kra pao stir-fry (tofu basil with chili), one of Thailand’s best-known dishes.  Instead of a stir-fry with bite-sized chunks of tofu, this was more like a pad kra pao tofu scramble.  I wanted something I could chew on; this wasn’t it.  And there was something odd about the taste of it that I just didn’t like. It almost tasted dirty.

Khun Churn Sweet Potato in Coconut Milk

Sweet Potato in Coconut Milk

For dessert we decided to try the special, which was sweet potato in coconut milk that evening, along with a mango and sticky rice.  The sweet potato in coconut milk was good, but not great. I’ve definitely had better, creamier sweet potatoes. 

Mango and sticky rice

Mango and sticky rice

The sticky rice and mango was also just okay.  The rice tasted far too salty to me, and the mango and coconut cream drizzled over it, were not sweet enough to offset it.

Khun Churn

Khun Churn

Maybe the kitchen was having an off night. Maybe we didn’t order the right things. Whatever the reason, most of the food was edible but certainly not great.  Given how many really good vegan restaurants there are in Chiang Mai, I would give Khun Churn a miss and opting for one of Chiang Mai’s other stellar vegan restaurants instead.

Location: 4 Soi 17, Nimmanhemin Rd | Suthep, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Hours: 8am-10pm Daily

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