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Residents in Chiangmai looking for good food and the most relaxing atmosphere choose to enjoy meals at Galae (Hillside) Restaurant located at the reservoir at the top of Suthep Road. This restaurant has been serving residents and visitors for the past 30 years. It originally started as a handy meal spot for the Northern Regional Agriculture Office staff. The peaceful site and reputation for good food soon brought in more and more guests.

Walking from the parking lot, guests pass the barbecue stand where fragrant spareribs and fish are being grilled. The outstanding view of the 8 rai property includes wooden picnic tables and colorful umbrellas amid the red, yellow and green colors of the seasonal flowers in Chiang Mai. The reservoir is edged with green towering trees. The water in the reservoir flows from Huay Palard and it is home to fish of all species. As visitors gaze on the reservoir, the playful fish jumping out of the water can be seen. The Agriculture Organization has set up fountains adding to the beauty of the setting.

On to the matter of a typical meal, the Thai prefer polished rice and tend to consider untreated rice as inferior. Long grain rice is steamed to a light and fluffy texture without the use of additives such as salt. The seasonings and spicy sauces served separately and added according to individual taste. A large container of rice is always the centerpiece. Surrounding the large central bowl of rice there will be several dishes offering a balanced selection of flavors and textures. In addition to the rice, a typical meal might include a soup (Tohm Yaam), a curry, fresh vegetables (Yaam), a fried dish (Phad), a spicy hot dipping sauce (Naam Prig) and a steamed one. The soup is served together with the other dishes whereas western custom is to serve the soup as the first course.

A full composition of a typical Thai meal would be rice, curry, soup, fried dishes, salad, dipping sauce with fresh vegetables, steamed or grilled dish, solid dessert, liquid dessert and mixed fruits. These delicious Thai dishes would be enough to serve at least five people.

An example of a set menu of popular Thai foods, the above recommended dishes would definitely serve three persons. Beside the dessert and mixed fruits, one dish could be reduced in case of only two persons dining.

The Galae menu offers many tasty selections. The top hit list consists of Gaeng Khiew Waan, a central Thai dish, but the delicious taste makes it a popular dish with everyone. When ordering chicken, pork, beef or pork can be added to the curry.

Pla Chon Naam Prik Noom is a special dish of the north. The dip is made of roasted peppers and aubergine along with onion and garlic. The seeds of the peppers are removed to keep the temperature down. Several types of steamed vegetables are served around the steamed firm fish.

Mee Grawb or crispy rice noodles are a traditional dish of central Thailand. Because of the sweet and crispy characteristics, it's a great accompaniment with gaeng keo wan.

For regulars, Gai Galae is the all time favorite baked whole chicken served in foil to keep the moisture of the gravy, a secret blend of tomato sauce and cashew nuts for a salty sweet flavor.

Zee Krong Moo Ob Naam Peung or pork short ribs baked in pure honey purchased directly from a particular farm in Chiangmai. (This is the dish my two sons always chose during the past 25 years whenever our family ate at Galae).

After your meal, there's always a pleasant stroll around the reservoir offering a great panoramic view of the plains where the city of Chiang Mai spreads out. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Group reservations can be made by calling Tel : 053-278655, 053-811041, FAX : 053-278655.

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