Chilling Out in Lampang

Nothing beats the cool Northern breeze this time of the year. And instead of flocking to the major touristic provinces, we can still go to Lampang and chill out because this place, albeit its closeness to Chiang Mai, still retains local charms and serenity.Once a major commercial hub for teak and wood trading, Lampang’s glorious past makes it abundant with both temples and markets. The morning market boasts serene scene of monks thronging, people waiting to present them with the day’s meal. Others are busy, chopping away fresh meats, fish and doing the brisk business of trading the old-style  miang (pickled leaves wrapped with stuffing, for chewing), stacks of tua naw (a Northern staple ingredient made from preserved soy, dried in small thin plates), and even curry pastes, local breakfast and steaming hot sticky rice, weighed and hand-folded in tong tung leaves.

A proper breakfast is served street side at Go Rak Cafe near Boonwat School with tables lined along the school’s wall. Servings are freshly brewed Thai style coffee with condensed milk, Thai tea and poached eggs. Line can be long, and you must be patient or opt to the nearby (driving required though) Kao Man Gai Tip Chang (Tip Chang steamed chicken rice) on the tip of the main Tip Chang Road where free-range (almost fat free) fried and steamed chicken is served on rice with delicious clear soup, making it a wonderful and hearty breakfast.

Caption – Chopping away at Tip Chang Steamed Chicken Rice

Caption – Old-style fresh coffees at the very popular street side Go Rak Cafe

Or if you wander in town long enough for a brunch, head to Kao Soy Islam for one of the city’s best bowls of kao soy (Northern-style egg noodle served in curried coconut broth with choice of chicken or beef (or pork in other cases)). On weekend, you can order a plate of chicken or beef satay, too. And they are just delicious. I reckon this place serves the best kao soy in Lampang because I like the delicate, yet rich and full-flavoured of the broth,  not just “HOT AND SPICY” to be so Thai as some Western chefs have coerced you to believe about Thai food. Chilies, despite their hot and hefty roles in many Thai dishes, are optional and even personal. Many Thais opt their somtam clear of pounded fresh chilies and some want it with a heap full. And it would be downright naive to determine whether a Thai dish is truly Thai by counting on the spiciness alone. So please, be educated and stop bartering chilies with the real Thai tastes and more importantly, why not bother to learn the FACTS of how we truly live, our cultures and how food play roles in our country.

Caption: Kao Soy is a Northern staples for brunch, lunch and sometimes dinner in Thailand.

Caption: Another local delicacy called Kai Pam which is steamed and grilled egg in banana boat. How genius (and delicious)!

Go Rak Cafe opens everyday from 08.30-17.30

Kao Man Gai Tip Chang, 05.00 – 14.30 น. T. 054-322-360

Bangkok Airways flies direct to Lampang and their lounge is available for all their domestic flights, visit http://www.bangkokair.com

The Thai version of my story was earlier published in Krungthep Thurakij newspaper, now available online at:

Part 1
http://www.bangkokbiznews.com/home/detail/life-style/travel/20101109/361737/%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%97%E0%B8%B5%E0%B9%88%E0%B8%A2%E0%B8%A7%E0%B8%95%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%95%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%81-%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%81%E0%B8%95%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%95%E0%B8%A5%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%94-…%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%82%E0%B8%A5%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%87%E0%B8%84%E0%B9%8C%E0%B8%99%E0%B8%84%E0%B8%A3-%281%29.html

Part 2:

http://www.bangkokbiznews.com/home/detail/life-style/travel/20101116/362500/%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%97%E0%B8%B5%E0%B9%88%E0%B8%A2%E0%B8%A7%E0%B8%95%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%95%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%81-%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%81%E0%B8%95%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%95%E0%B8%A5%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%94-%E0%B8%97%E0%B8%B5%E0%B9%88%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%82%E0%B8%A5%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%87%E0%B8%84%E0%B9%8C%E0%B8%99%E0%B8%84%E0%B8%A3-%282%29.html

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