Saturday, April 30, 2016

Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center - Chiang Mai, Thailand

Khantoke dinner
We met up with a group of friends in Chiang Mai. They picked us up from the airport with a rented mini van and then we went to look for our hotel. It was such a hot day so after we checked in I seriously didn't want to leave our AC room. But they already made plan to go out for dinner at Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center.

This place is not really a restaurant per se though they serve food. It's a performance place and I think it was such a smart concept to combine performance and food together. Because just the performance alone won't hold me still for close to 2 hours.

We got there a bit early to make sure we got a good spot for the performance. We were told that we may sit on the floor to get the best view but in the end we got a table seating instead. I was glad that we sat on the table. It's so much easier to eat and enjoy food when you sit on table.

The door to the building opened maybe around 6:30 and we removed and left our slippers with the attendance. Program sheets were available in different languages by the door. I picked one up on the way in. And as soon as we sat down, a short wooden table full of dishes were placed in front of us. The dishes consisted of Burmese pork curry, cabbage dishes, pork skin crackers, fried chicken drummets, pumpkin fries, sliced cucumber and sticky crispy noodle (?). There were also two types of sauces to go with those dishes. One of them surprisingly was a bolognese sauce. Then each of us get a tiny woven coconut leaves container with steam sticky rice.
View to the stage from our table - those other seatings closer to the stage were on the floor

The performance started maybe 15 minutes into the dinner. Very nice traditional Thai dances with elaborate costumes and live music. So we kept on eating, the servers would ask if we wanted refill if they notice one of the dish was running low. And meanwhile we could all sit back and enjoy the performances. That's quite amazing.
One of the dance with plenty of beautiful dancers with intricate costumes

On one of the dances, some of the performers actually came down and offered anyone to go up to stage and danced with them. Everyone were having a great time.

From the program and also from our conversation with our Thai friend. That style of dinner that we were having was called Khantoke dinner. The short wooden table where the dishes were served on was called Khantok, hence the name. It's a custom to the northern Thai people to serve Khantoke during weddings, funerals, house warming parties, etc.

We didn't pay for the dinner but later on I found out that the cost was around 500 baht (around USD15). A small cost for dinner buffet and performances. Drinks not included.

Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center
Address: 185/3 Wualai Rd | T. Hai Ya a. Muang, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
Phone Number: +66 53 202 9935