Published on : Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Gazing at the shimmering squares of delicate shoots and leaves, there is a palpable sense of abundance. Lush with terraced paddy fields and encircled by mist-clad mountains, the legendary status enjoyed by rice in Thailand is evident. An inexplicable inner conviction arises – as long as the rice fields flourish, so will the gentle people of this verdant valley; the fate of rice is inextricably intertwined with the fate of Thailand itself.
For thousands of years, rice (khao in Thai) formed a cultural and culinary cornerstone in the Siamese and Lanna kingdoms. Even today, a meal in Thailand is considered incomplete without the ubiquitous inverted-bowl mound of rice. In fact, the Thai verb “to eat” (kin khao or taan khao) literally means “to eat rice.” Revered as a life-giving elixir as well as a symbol of kindness, this unassuming grain plays a pivotal role in religious customs and celebrations. Thais regularly give offerings of rice to monks as a form of merit-making, to gather good karma and blessings.
KHAO by Four Seasons finds its inspiration in Thailand’s long-standing love affair with rice. Nestled amid emerald paddy fields, this new all-day dining destination at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai is a fitting tribute to the magical grain that has nourished the Mae Rim valley and beyond for millennia. An intimate, exceptional dining experience awaits at this enchanting location, blessed by the Goddess of Rice herself, standing guard in the sala with the rice fields at her feet.
A Sojourn Through the Silk Route
The one-of-a-kind culinary journey at KHAO, meticulously designed by passionate culinarians, takes diners deep into the vibrant food and drink culture of Thailand, with delightful detours into Burmese and Yunanese cuisine along the way. The sojourn through the Silk Route also opens a window into age-old gastronomic secrets from the Lanna Kingdom of Northern Thailand, or the Land of a Million Rice Fields.
The menu seamlessly blends timeless tradition with contemporary flair: KHAO’s talented chefs have drawn deeply from treasured heirloom recipes, creatively reimagining them in ways that surprise and engage the palate. Culinary enthusiasts will discover a richly-layered tapestry of flavours and cooking techniques that have been handed down over generations, with knowledgeable servers illuminating the hidden ancestry of each course as it arrives at the table.
Some of the rare traditional dishes on the menu are impossible to find even in local restaurants. Imagine being able to experience the recreation of a recipe that – until now – was lost in the mists of time or remained a well-guarded family secret. Diners can explore the carefully-crafted selection to find their favourites – from yam pla fu (a northern delicacy of crispy local catfish and tangerine), to maw din (tender pork and vegetables, slowly simmered in an earthenware pot), and goong mae narm yang (grilled giant river prawns, procured from local hill tribes, with seaweed caviar).
The first and only gastronomic destination of its kind in the stunning Mae Rim valley, KHAO by Four Seasons is now open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. With intriguingly varied menus for different times of day, there is never a dull moment here.