Previously published in the Wichita Eagle:
Chiang Mai has flown under my restaurant radar for quite some time, but finally at the behest of a trusted friend, we headed down south to Hillside and 31st Street to see what it was all about. Judging by the bars on the windows, which in my experience is a good indicator of food quality, I expected a good meal. Inside we were unexpectedly greeted by a spacious and tidy dining room with pleasing hues of purple paint adorning the walls.
While Chiang Mai is primarily a Thai restaurant, their lunch menu (11am-3pm) encompasses highlights from several Asian countries including Vietnam and China. All lunch specials come with your choice of salad, soup or egg roll, plus dessert. One of my favorite cold weather dishes is Thai curry so I ordered a spicy bowl of the roasted duck curry (Gaeng Phet Pet Yang, $6.95). My wife went with the mild version of Mussman curry ($6.50). For our appetizers I had the soup, while my wife tried the egg roll.
The clear broth soup was simple, but satisfying. It consisted of sliced green onions, small rice noodles, and wonderful toasted garlic. The egg roll was small compared to some behemoths you can pick up at buffets around town, but it was fresh and enjoyable. The duck curry included bamboo shoots, cherry tomatoes, basil, and tender pieces of duck bathed in a wonderfully creamy and spicy sauce. Although I ordered it “spicy” it was not overpowering. This was some of the best curry I have had in Wichita. The Mussman curry was comprised of chicken, chunks of potato, and peanuts in another very good curry sauce. For dessert we each got a freshly fried round doughnut that was most excellent.
The service at Chiang Mai was superb. Our waitresses were very friendly and took an immediate liking to our 10 month old son. He had a fried doughnut in front of him before we even had drinks at our table. If you are in a hurry, ordering online from their website is an option.