For anyone living or traveling near the famed Golden Triangle in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province who would like to savor some very delicious local Thai cuisine, I would recommend ‘Raan Paa On’ (ร้านป้าอ้น) Restaurant which is located at the Golden Triangle right beside the Mekong River.
‘Raan Paa On’ (ร้านป้าอ้น) Restaurant translates in Thai as ‘The Restaurant of Aunt On’, and offers excellent homemade local Thai cuisine. The restaurant lies within a group of rudimentary local eateries constructed of simple wooden structures with thatched roofs on the scenic road just beyond the Golden Triangle heading towards Mae Sai town.
For the Thai diner, ‘Raan Paa On’ offers excellent aromatic and spicy local cuisine, especially those dishes made of the region’s famous local delicacy: the giant Mekong catfish, known as ‘Pla Buek’ (ปลาบึก) in Thai. The first dish I would recommend is the crispy fried chunks of ‘Pla Beuk’ meat fillets seasoned with black pepper, soy, along with crispy garlic tidbits and kaffir lime leaves. This is called ‘Pla Buek Pad Prik Thai Dam Kratiam’ (ปลาบึกผัดพริกไทยดำกระเทียม). Superb!
Due to its location adjacent to the Golden Triangle, ‘Raan Paa On’ offers great views of the Mekong River, where diners can even get a glimpse of the Golden Triangle right from the table.
‘Raan Paa On’ offers the excellent ‘Pla Buek Pad Cha’ (ปลาบึกผัดฉ่า), or chunks of catfish meat fillets stir-fried in a very aromatic Thai chili paste (น้ำพริกแกง, ‘nam prik gaeng’) with fresh basil leaves and fresh peppers. Here at the restaurant, ‘Paa On’ makes her own chili paste using the best of local ingredients. I even bought her chili paste for my home cooking in Bangkok.
Due to its riverside location, ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant offers an excellent view of the Mekong River right from the dining table. Here is a view of a tributary of the Mekong River which forms part of the border between Thailand and Burma (Union of Myanmar). The opposite side of this small tributary is a part of Burma’s Shan State.
‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant excels not only in northern Thai dishes made of the giant Mekong catfish, or ‘Pla Buek’, but also does an excellent job in cooking such all-time Thai favorites as the chicken stir-fried in aromatic basil sauce, called ‘Gai Pad Bai Kaprao’ (ไก่ผัดใบกะเพรา) in Thai.
All of my recommended dishes above go along great with ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant’s steamed sticky rice, which the restaurant owner (Aunt On, or ‘Pa On’) grows by herself in her Chiang Rai farm during the rainy season. In addition to my recommended dishes listed above, Raan Paa On also offers other recommended tasty selections as follows.
For instance, you may also want to try the following selections:
– ‘Pla Buek’ in tom yum soup, or ‘Tom Yam Pla Buek’ (ต้มยำปลาบึก)
– Boiled chunks of ‘Pla Buek’ catfish meat fillets accompanied by a 3-flavor sauce, ‘Pla Beuk Luak Jim 3 Rote’ (ปลาบึกลวกจิ้ม 3 รส).
– Chicken in tom yum soup, or ‘Tom Yum Gai’ (ต้มยำไก่)
– Chicken pan-fried with local herbs and spices, or ‘Gai Tod Samun Prai’ (ไก่ทอดสมุนไพร)
– Pork ribs pan-fried with garlic, ‘Si Krong Moo Tod Kra Tiam’ (ซี่โครงหมูทอดกระเทียม)
– Other made to order dishes (อาหารตามสั่ง)
All the dishes here are authentic homemade Thai food.
‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant is located adjacent to the Golden Triangle, on a riverside location along the road heading towards Mae Sai town. The restaurant is located just beyond the Golden Triangle when heading towards Mae Sai.
Haha! My meal at ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant was so tasty that it attracted a group of cute local cats who came and nagged me for a portion of my tasty dishes! This local cutie in particular was ‘meowing’ beside me through much of my meal!
Happy dining, wherever you are in Thailand and around the world!
Lat (Ratasit C.)