By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
About 30 minutes’ drive from downtown Chiang Rai on Den Ha-Dong Mada Road, the hillside restaurant Bhu Bhirom is an ideal place to enjoy good food with a glorious sunset. Without any annoying buildings blocking your eyes, the al fresco dining area with comfy sofas upholstered in colourful shades is a relaxing perch for dinners overlooking scenic green and yellow agricultural lands stretching out as far as the eye can see.
Bhu Bhirom is located on 8,600 rai at Boonrawd Farm in Chiang Rai that is now showcasing itself as a spectacular agro-tourism attraction. Since late last year, the public has been able to visit the farm that’s now known as Singha Park to learn about agricultural production through a daily farm tour that’s free of charge.
Before dinner, it’s best to take the sightseeing car for the tour, which runs daily from 10am to 5pm and comes complete with a guide. The farm is home to para rubber trees, jujube fruits, barley fields and mulberry trees, as well as strawberries, star fruit, mushrooms and salad vegetables and the fresh produce is also used at the restaurant.
A visit to the site reveals that the well-known beer maker Boonrawd Brewery is also a large exporter of loose oolong tea with a 600-rai tea plantation, and you can tease your palate with fresh tea leaves.
Only the terminal buds and three young leaves are plucked by gentle hands to get the premium tea and the tempting dishes also use these top three leaves for cooking. Among the best choices are fried fresh tealeaf with spicy sauce for Bt90 and spicy tuna with fresh tealeaf for Bt100. The tealeaf is cooked without leaving any bitter and smelly taste in the mouth.
Next is sour sausage for Bt90 that is lightly coated with breadcrumbs before fried until golden. It is served with chopped green onion, coriander, shallot and garlic and chilli. Another delectable dish is grilled chicken for Bt220 that is marinated with herbs like pepper and garlic, rosemary and thyme and shallots before grilling to give a favourable taste.
The East-meets-West dish is spaghetti with Northern-style sausage for Bt120 where al dente and hot merges. But don’t worry, you won’t be reaching for the ice water to calm sore mouths burning with fiery flavour.
For Western foods, the star here is steak in different cuts for Bt550 for 300 grams including sirloin, T-bone and fillet mignon. Other choices are pork chop with apple sauce (Bt350), German-style deep-fried pork knuckle (Bt350) and mixed sausages (Bt350).
Bhu Bhirom has been opened late last year as a relaxing spot after a farm tour. In the restaurant, the all-day dining Bhu Bhirom can accommodate about 120 diners with Thai cuisine, particular Northern dishes, and European foods. Thanks to its beautiful panoramic view, it’s quickly become popular for both locals and tourists so that the restaurant plans to move a hundred metres from its previous site – but still in the same compound – to a more spacious area in April next year.
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