Khum Khantoke in Chiang Mai is a popular restaurant serving the traditional Lanna dinner along with a vibrant cultural show. Khum means a wooden pavilion and Khantoke is a circular plate which contains many dishes. Traditional khantoke is served while the guests are sitting on the mats on ground! Modern ones can be served on a table too.
Khum Khantoke has both outdoor and indoor halls. The day we visited it rained, so they used one of the indoor halls. The place has a beautiful ambiance, it was pleasant to walk around the grounds after the rains.
The lobby of the indoor hall was grand. I was quite mesmerized with the peacock arrangement. I spent quite sometime to get a better picture of the setup. It was quite popular with the guests, everyone wanted a picture there.
The hall itself was huge and nicely done. I was told it can seat 800 people. There were both, the low floor mats and dinner tables. Our reservation was for the dinner table.
As a few of us were vegetarians our table had both the khantokes. The idea was to take the sticky rice, dip in in various curries and it eat with side dishes. The drinks are extra. I had a beer with my meal.
The opening sequence (first image in this post) was opulent and graceful. I wish I knew more about the dance but then spending one night at a restaurant is never going to be enough to learn!
For me the cultural show was the highlight of the evening. There were Lanna tribal dances, umbrella dance, group dances and much more. Lanna is the culture of the people of North Thailand. Chiang Mai is also called the Rose of North Thailand.
They presented an act from Ramayana as well. I was surprised when i saw it for the first time in Cambodia. But I am now aware that Ramayana is performed in many countries other than India!
This young man performing with his swords had my rapt attention. I think I held my breath till he took out each one of those safely! While we were enjoying the show two pretty girls went around the tables along with a photographer. They later sell the photograph to you as a souvenir. There is no compulsion to buy. I did bring back mine home. Chhavi quite likes it.
The night was pleasant after the rains. We walked out after a beautiful evening and strolled around for a while. I was wondering how it would be to sit outside and see the whole performance. But for the rains that would have been my experience. But I was content with the rich culture that I saw, it would remain the irrespective of the setting.
PS. I was invited by TAT New Delhi on this trip.