Khunnai Teunsai Restaurant is a little gem that I discovered on Soi 11 in Nimman. Surprisingly, I didn’t find out about it in the online blogs discussing vegetarian food in Chiang Mai (as I usually do).
How did I find it? Well, contrary to popular belief you can identify veg-eaters by just observing – the way crocs wait at water for antelope that come by necessity. Veggie eaters move in the same circles and gravitate to the same places in search of veg food, which can be so hard to find at times!
So, basically, I saw some suspected vegans (yes, I can spot you a mile off) going into Khunnai Teunsai and thought I’d see if it were indeed another grazing spot for me…
It’s a rather pretty location, protected somewhat from the main street by a wall of greenery. Inside its an open area, partially covered, that allows the indoor space to feel bigger and more ‘outdoorsy’.
You can sit on low sofas or at regular tables, indoors and outdoors. In the background there is the soothing sound of the bubbling water features and the French cafe music.
The place also has an interesting vintage feel worked into it. There is all sorts of paraphernalia including side cabinets filled with the sort of tin toys children of the 40’s may have played with. Still other wall shelving hold old bottles and tins of long discontinued products. A cat on a chair groomed itself languidly.
The Food at Khunnai Teunsai
So how’s the food? Well, what I have tried has been yum. But in saying that, the food is simple fare.
I definitely recommend the mushroom stem curry with rice. Its a fragrant and gently spicy blend of these wonderfully textured mushroom stems that I keep coming across here in Chiang Mai. They really resemble meat in many ways and cooked well are quite moreish.
This curry has a generous addition of the local basil in it and just a little of the kaffir lime leaf that can be so overpowering – but which they use so skillfully here. The mushroom steak and vegetables with rice is another flavoursome dish to try as well.
Portion sizes here are a little small but most dishes are around the 85 baht range, so not too expensive.
It can be a real quiet spot in the daytime and offers a slightly quirky experience. It’s a good place to bring a group as there is plenty of seating space. This place is also useful in that regard because they have a full menu for meat-eaters as well – in case you are with people who aren’t vegetarian or vegan.
I did find that they can be a little slow preparing the meals, compared to other places i have been, ordering similar food. Expect to wait a little longer – I would never go here if I just wanted to grab a quick bite.
They have juices on the menu, and if you are used to eating at vegetarian restaurants around Chiang Mai, you might be under the impression that the juice will be raw, as is often the case. At Khunnai Teunsai, however, the juice is not fresh and raw, but pasteurized. It is just something to be aware of.
The Prices at Khunnai Teunsai
I have to admit that with mains beginning around 85 baht, the prices at Khun Nai Teun Sai are a little higher that is warranted. You can get larger portions of better food for cheaper at various places around Chiang Mai. That being said, there are some dishes sold here that I haven’t found elsewhere. Sometimes it isn’t all about the price; sometimes it is just about trying something new – that is what I recommend this place for – getting a different flavour of vegetarian food in the Nimman area.
Location of Khun Nai Teun Sai
Probably my biggest beef with Khunnai Teunsai is that because it is largely an outdoor space with lots of water and plants there can be a little trouble with mosquitoes – but you will find this in a number of outdoor spots in Chiang Mai. Just have a decent insect repellent on hand though and you will be fine. There’s a little parking out front also, if you are coming by car or bike.