There are many high-end restaurants offering Thai fusion dishes on their menus in Ibiza, but there is only one real traditional family Thai restaurant here – the Chiang Mai. This is to be found in Santa Eulalia, where they have had premises for some thirteen years, but during which time they have kept a low profile in the back streets.
All that changed last year with their move to historic premises at the beginning of the town’s renowned Restaurant Street. These premises were made famous by Sandys Bar back in the swinging 1960s, or rather by the collection of latter day superstars who made up their clientele. For those who are unfamiliar with Sandys Bar, it was located next door to the tobacconist adjacent to the Town Hall at the top of the Paseo. The front terrace overlooks the fountain square and the plaza that serves as the main focus of the town when celebrating the many fiestas.
The gorgeous oasis of a shaded garden restaurant at the rear of the premises is one of the town’s best kept secrets during the height of summer. In fact it’s quite easy when you’re there to forget that you’re also right in the centre of this busy market town.
The restaurant contains two separate indoor dining areas – the original bar area has turned into a cosy winter dining room with a big fireplace, while the area behind that is a light and airy space with the atmosphere of a conservatory. Here you can hear your stir-fry sizzle while you try to guess which herb or spice is causing the aroma emanating from the adjacent kitchen. In actual fact you stand little chance of guessing correctly as traditional Thai cuisine is renowned for its complex interaction of at least three, often four or five, fundamental tastes in each dish. The whole meal will almost certainly include sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy elements.
By now you should be able to easily find this little gem of a restaurant, so let’s enlighten ourselves on the delights of traditional Thai cuisine. They do say that a country’s food reflects its culture, and in the case of Thailand appropriate adjectives would be intricate, texture, colour, taste, attention to detail and the use of ingredients with medicinal benefits. All of these are combined in the pursuit of good, very often fascinating, flavour.
The staple grain of Thai cuisine is rice. In fact the Thai words for rice and food are the same and Thai farmers have historically cultivated tens of thousands of rice varieties. A traditional recipe for a rice dish would involve as many as thirty different varieties of rice!
Fish sauce is also a staple ingredient and gives Thai cuisine its unique character. This is prepared from fermented fish and provides the salty flavour. Interestingly, because Thailand has only a relatively short southern coastline, much use is made of freshwater fish in the central and northern parts of this huge country. Consequently these sauces contribute enormously to the other-worldly flavours to be found in traditional Thai cuisine.
Nowadays Thai cuisine is renowned for its enthusiastic use of fresh herbs and spices, but most notably chilli peppers, which were introduced from the Americas a mere 500 years ago!
However, we digress… to return to the Chiang Mai restaurant of Ibiza, and specifically the words of Suwit, the boss: Traditional Thai food is made with fresh vegetables, lightly cooked with the meat or fish of your choice and an incredible mix of herbs and spices, cooked from the heart…
Abierto cada día de 13 - 16 hrs y 19 - 23 hrs
(Miércoles Almuerzo cerrado)
Täglich geöffnet von 13 - 16 h & 19 - 23 h
(Mittwoch mittag geschlossen)
Every day from 1-4 pm & 7-11:30 pm
(closed on Wednesday lunchtimes)