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We started 2013 in Chiang mai, having arrived there as our first stop on December 29. We hosted many countdown parties in our apartment near Times Square New York in the past. But now living in Switzerland, we really do miss the crowds and the celebratory atmosphere.  So we had to find a decent place  to spend the new year’s eve.


Before leaving home, Sue had got from an acquaintance a list of local restaurants and hotels which were offering a New Year’s Eve dinner party. Among the many choices, we chose the party at The Rachamankha largely because their menu included both local and international fare. Here is the description that sold us:

Enjoy buffets of Tai, Lanna, Myanmar and Thai delicacies served in a traditional market setting and a rich spread of seasonal European delights in the restaurant dining room. Free flowing wines, beers and soft drinks to the accompaniment of both traditional and modern entertainment set in and around Rachamankha’s restaurant courtyards throughout the night from 7p.m. til late on the 31st December 2012.


Despite the red carpet, the maitre ‘d wanted us to share a small square table with a lone diner, telling us every body has to share. When we asked for an alternative, he blamed us for making a late reservation. While I feel sorry for the lone diner, we wanted to enjoy our family reunion (my sister from Hong Kong joined us). We got angry with the maitre ‘d, he relented and gave us our own table.


Many of the locals came to dinner in black tie and cocktail dresses. There was another seating area in the inner courtyard with different entertainment. The hotel managed to get just the right number of guests as the place was not too crowded and it felt cozy.


There were simply too many different kinds of local foods to sample here. This part of the dinner was served outdoor and a bit dark, so it was hard to recognize what was on offer even with a English note next to it.


Every thing was delicious but we could not possibly remember, let alone distinguish and appreciate the differences in Tai versus Thai cuisine, or Lanna versus Burmese. Very cute street market style presentation.


Pennywort salad in a banana leaf boat.


Deep fried fish, lightly salted, the perfect munchies to go with beer. We had several dishes of it by the end of the evening.


Sticky rice-based dessert. Blue was obviously not a popular food color, but brown should be even less popular given the shape but …


Inside the hotel dining room was the carving table.  I(Chris) loved these seafood appetizers – though somewhat European in appearance, they are best described as cerviche oriental style – spicy, citrus-y, and briny.


The hotel is tastfully decorated and the layout is based on the traditional Chinese four-sided courtyard house. The hotel  used to belong to the marketing association of Relais & Châteaux.


The live entertainment were imaginatively programmed and mixed the cultures and arts of the East and West as well as the traditional and new. The live band that played till the countdown attempted every thing from local hits to YMCA to Opa Gangnam Style (in mangled Korean). A DJ took over after the countdown.


Yes, that was a chandelier on his head.


The countdown was accompanied by the release of giant sky lanterns (komloy) by the guests into a moonlit sky.


Happy New Year !


This was how we started the new year.


One Comment

  1. never seen anything like this. Keep up the travelling.

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