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'Coporate' Food Courts Taking Over


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I fondly remember less than 10 yrs ago the food courts in the superstores were all 'mom and pop' type vendors and now all I see are the same same 'corporate' franchises at all the food courts. It used to be an exciting venture......with so many different choices of fresh home cooked foods and the old Tesco on the Hang Dong road was our favorite, with many affordable and delicious options, but now it's the same same as all the others with bland overpriced swill. We now just do our shopping and escape to home for lunch.

The good old days!!!

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We use the various food courts on many occasions.Tesco,Big C,KSG,Northern Village etc.

Overall happy with quality,quantity and cost.Each to his own I guess.

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I rarely eat in food courts, but the other day in Big C Hang Dong I felt the need to eat.

I had Kao Soi without the chicken, just soft & crispy noodles etc. Loaded it up with cabbage and raw onions and I must say it was all quite nice.

Price 25 Baht and I didn't need to eat again that day......(well I had a yoghurt with fruit).

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I think they have gotten better with the addition of the Japanese franchises now present in all of them. The food sold at these Japanese franchises is a little healthier IMHO and offers more variety. I get enough of the same old Thai dishes at home.

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Some FC's are better than others:

Tops at KSK is not so good yet the main FC is excellent.

Tops at APlaza is ok but servings small - better value in Northern Village.

TescoLotus and BigC on SuperHighway excellent, Hang Dong ones not so flash.

Fav dishes:-

Kao soy

Hoy tod

Rard na mee goong sod

Stewed pork

Suki

Roast pork and greens

..... gotta go, time for kinkao ...

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I've been coming to Chiang Mai since 2004 and this is the first trip I've eaten at any of the Food Courts in Tesco Lotus, as my 3 year old son absolutely loves the indoor playground there. While I can't be the judge of the quality of yesteryear, I can say this: I was pretty shocked at the cleanliness and quality of the food I've been eating there the past 2-1/2 months. One of the vendors cooked one of the best Kapraw Moo Kai Dow I've ever eaten in Chiang Mai. It cost 40 baht so hardly way overpriced and the furthest from bland as you could get. I guess to each their own.

EDIT: I go to the Tesco Lotus on SuperHighway (near Kamthieng Market) and not the Hang Dong one.

Edited by 65Craig
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I agree the food courts here are more like the ones I left with processed and/or frozen food prepared by people who don't know how to cook or care. Thai food is based on fresh local ingredients which is inexpensive and readily available here, why eat that other stuff that is often kept at unsafe temperatures and in my opinion a waste of a good hunger. The exception I have found is surprisingly in the basement of Airport Plaza where I can get a fresh fruit and/or veg juice made to order and a stir fried (not deep fried) fish and mixed veg on rice.

Edited by junglechef
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I agree the food courts here are more like the ones I left with processed and/or frozen food prepared by people who don't know how to cook or care. Thai food is based on fresh local ingredients which is inexpensive and readily available here, why eat that other stuff that is often kept at unsafe temperatures and in my opinion a waste of a good hunger. The exception I have found is surprisingly in the basement of Airport Plaza where I can get a fresh fruit and/or veg juice made to order and a stir fried (not deep fried) fish and mixed veg on rice.

Most Thai foods are kept at unsafe temperatures as well.

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I agree the food courts here are more like the ones I left with processed and/or frozen food prepared by people who don't know how to cook or care. Thai food is based on fresh local ingredients which is inexpensive and readily available here, why eat that other stuff that is often kept at unsafe temperatures and in my opinion a waste of a good hunger. The exception I have found is surprisingly in the basement of Airport Plaza where I can get a fresh fruit and/or veg juice made to order and a stir fried (not deep fried) fish and mixed veg on rice.

Most Thai foods are kept at unsafe temperatures as well.

Yes but I most often order food that is cooked to order such as a stir-fry or noodle soup where i can see the food is on ice and watch them cook it. Obviously in restaurants I can't always go into the kitchen but if I see that the bathroom is in back I often stick my head in. While we are discussing Tesco and Big C I find the chicken and pork area where one to bags it themselves is so full of airborne bacteria that my face itches. Besides that it sits in a puddle of blood some of the habits of the other customers is so off putting I don't buy meat there anymore and rarely go into the food areas at all.

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I agree the food courts here are more like the ones I left with processed and/or frozen food prepared by people who don't know how to cook or care. Thai food is based on fresh local ingredients which is inexpensive and readily available here, why eat that other stuff that is often kept at unsafe temperatures and in my opinion a waste of a good hunger. The exception I have found is surprisingly in the basement of Airport Plaza where I can get a fresh fruit and/or veg juice made to order and a stir fried (not deep fried) fish and mixed veg on rice.

Most Thai foods are kept at unsafe temperatures as well.

Yes but I most often order food that is cooked to order such as a stir-fry or noodle soup where i can see the food is on ice and watch them cook it. Obviously in restaurants I can't always go into the kitchen but if I see that the bathroom is in back I often stick my head in. While we are discussing Tesco and Big C I find the chicken and pork area where one to bags it themselves is so full of airborne bacteria that my face itches. Besides that it sits in a puddle of blood some of the habits of the other customers is so off putting I don't buy meat there anymore and rarely go into the food areas at all.

My TW is not only a superb cook (aren't they all?) and is scrupulous regarding hygiene. Pork meat at BigC and TL is perfectly safe if you are going to cook it or freeze for later use. Chicken? ... take more care! Your face itch may be due to something else like frying chili.

We always choose FC vendors with caution, never eat from street samlors!

Here's a tip.... Betagro, tiny shop on Suthep Road, diagonally opposite Nimmen T intersection, has hygenic/cryovac packs of pork and chicken at prices cheaper than BC/TL.

Edited by kaptainrob
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The best kao mok guy I've ever had was in the 4th floor food court at Kad Suan Keaw. She went out of business during the big chicken flu scare and I've been looking for someplace as good ever since, but have not come close.

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I agree the food courts here are more like the ones I left with processed and/or frozen food prepared by people who don't know how to cook or care. Thai food is based on fresh local ingredients which is inexpensive and readily available here, why eat that other stuff that is often kept at unsafe temperatures and in my opinion a waste of a good hunger. The exception I have found is surprisingly in the basement of Airport Plaza where I can get a fresh fruit and/or veg juice made to order and a stir fried (not deep fried) fish and mixed veg on rice.

Most Thai foods are kept at unsafe temperatures as well.

Yes but I most often order food that is cooked to order such as a stir-fry or noodle soup where i can see the food is on ice and watch them cook it. Obviously in restaurants I can't always go into the kitchen but if I see that the bathroom is in back I often stick my head in. While we are discussing Tesco and Big C I find the chicken and pork area where one to bags it themselves is so full of airborne bacteria that my face itches. Besides that it sits in a puddle of blood some of the habits of the other customers is so off putting I don't buy meat there anymore and rarely go into the food areas at all.

My TW is not only a superb cook (aren't they all?) and is scrupulous regarding hygiene. Pork meat at BigC and TL is perfectly safe if you are going to cook it or freeze for later use. Chicken? ... take more care! Your face itch may be due to something else like frying chili.

We always choose FC vendors with caution, never eat from street samlors!

Here's a tip.... Betagro, tiny shop on Suthep Road, diagonally opposite Nimmen T intersection, has hygenic/cryovac packs of pork and chicken at prices cheaper than BC/TL.

Thanks I'll check it out as I've been looking for a good chix vendor, though I find most of the fresh meats at Macro pretty good. It's definitely the meat that makes me itch but your right if cooked probably fine but my second favorite thing is food shopping (eating is first) and I just don't enjoy it there.

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I have eaten quite frequently at the food court in Tops Market in Kad Suan Kaew. I do like to be able to watch at least some of the food prep. I now tend to stick to one after observing how they keep the raw chicken in the refrigerator, not left out at room temp all day. Also I have observed that they use one set of tongs to put the raw chicken on the grill and they use a different set of tongs (stored by the veggies) to put the salad/raw veggies on my plate.

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JC .... Makro meat dept would have to be the WORST for hygiene ... seafood section another story sad.png

The meat dept in the old Makro on the superhiway has a rotten smell to it as soon as you get close to it, but I find the hygene at the new Makro is quite good and the turnover of meats is so fast that I don't worry about it being spoiled.....often it is still frozen while on display and the pork and beef are behind a glass case.

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Some FC's are better than others:

Tops at KSK is not so good yet the main FC is excellent.

Tops at APlaza is ok but servings small - better value in Northern Village.

TescoLotus and BigC on SuperHighway excellent, Hang Dong ones not so flash.

Fav dishes:-

Kao soy

Hoy tod

Rard na mee goong sod

Stewed pork

Suki

Roast pork and greens

..... gotta go, time for kinkao ...

we are quite a opposite, actually i prefer the ones at ksk especially the chicken rice and moo deng noodles

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JC .... Makro meat dept would have to be the WORST for hygiene ... seafood section another story sad.png

And yet I have much worse results from Tesco and Big C. I think Makro is actually one of the better ones. And then there are regular fresh markets. "worst" means everything else is better; I don't think this is the case.

EDIT: Speaking of Makro Hang Dong of course.

Edited by WinnieTheKhwai
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The best kao mok guy I've ever had was in the 4th floor food court at Kad Suan Keaw. She went out of business during the big chicken flu scare and I've been looking for someplace as good ever since, but have not come close.

Suthasinee on Chang Klan road? Layla in CM-Lamphun Road Soi 9 ? (Soi opposite the Holiday Inn, but deep into it)

Both are Muslim places. And are small restaurants, not in food centers.

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JC .... Makro meat dept would have to be the WORST for hygiene ... seafood section another story sad.png

Yes. Absolutely true.

Allowing customers to go trough raw meat and fish themselves with their BARE HANDS?!?!?!

Unwashed hands that been holding the germ-colony on the shopping cart, not to mention the nose picking during the walk from the parking lot to the meat department.

Yes MAKRO's meat and seafood departments are truly DISGUSTING!!!

(Talking about MAKRO on Super Highway next to San Kamphaeng intersection)

Edited by KhunVee
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JC .... Makro meat dept would have to be the WORST for hygiene ... seafood section another story sad.png

Yes. Absolutely true.

Allowing customers to go trough raw meat and fish themselves with their BARE HANDS?!?!?!

Unwashed hands that been holding the germ-colony on the shopping cart, not to mention the nose picking during the walk from the parking lot to the meat department.

Yes MAKRO's meat and seafood departments are truly DISGUSTING!!!

(Talking about MAKRO on Super Highway next to San Kamphaeng intersection)

They provide tongs and plastic bags for that. And how is this different from Tesco and Big C?

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JC .... Makro meat dept would have to be the WORST for hygiene ... seafood section another story sad.png

Yes. Absolutely true.

Allowing customers to go trough raw meat and fish themselves with their BARE HANDS?!?!?!

Unwashed hands that been holding the germ-colony on the shopping cart, not to mention the nose picking during the walk from the parking lot to the meat department.

Yes MAKRO's meat and seafood departments are truly DISGUSTING!!!

(Talking about MAKRO on Super Highway next to San Kamphaeng intersection)

They provide tongs and plastic bags for that. And how is this different from Tesco and Big C?

Hahaha,... I was waiting for the first to come with this utterly stupid and narrow reply.

YOU WIN!!!

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What's stupid and how is it narrow? Winnie the Poo was stating the facts. The only big difference is that Makro has the fresh fruit and veg far away. I find the meat fresher at Makro, seems to have a higher rate of turnover, esp. since ppl. buy larger quantities and is kept at a lower temp., but the fish dept. at the Super Hiway store is not very clean, try the one at Mae Rim store, it's quite good. I disagree with you Kapitn Rob on this point but would like to try the Betagrow, went to find it today with no luck, could you give me a little help pls.

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What's stupid and how is it narrow? Winnie the Poo was stating the facts. The only big difference is that Makro has the fresh fruit and veg far away. I find the meat fresher at Makro, seems to have a higher rate of turnover, esp. since ppl. buy larger quantities and is kept at a lower temp., but the fish dept. at the Super Hiway store is not very clean, try the one at Mae Rim store, it's quite good. I disagree with you Kapitn Rob on this point but would like to try the Betagrow, went to find it today with no luck, could you give me a little help pls.

I apologise for being a nit picker with regard to meat quality and hygiene. I am guilty of generalising my opinions.

When talking about seafood or meats, I take an overall view, not just what's on special or whether fresh or frozen. TW is the same. We bought pork at one Isaan market ... possibly THE only one with refrigeration.

In Chiang Mai, we shop around, only buying fresh, quality produce. TL have good quality pork and I believe it may all be supplied by Betagro ... it is coincidental that we have a Betagro factory outlet nearby. They sell chicken too.

Betagro is a hole-in-the wall shop on Suthep Rd. Almost opposite the southern end of NH T-intersection, toward the moat, southern side.

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I have lived in Thailand for the last 8 yr full time. Pattaya, the central plains area and now Chiang Mai. I can can count the times, I have had the squirts, at less than a dozen. I have never been one who was a stickler for the perfect hygine. I have always used common sense when I cook, and I was the cook for my family back in the states for 30 yr. I wash fruits and vegs before using as well as chicken. Beef and pork seem to be no problem.

Four weeks ago, Makro had chicken leg quaters on sale for 39 baht a kg. I bought 50 kg and put them in individual bags and froze them. When I take out a package to cook, I always rinse them first before cooking.

Too many people from the west have been fooled into thinking that perfect hygine has to be had, at all cost. If the human race was that fragile, we would never have made it this long.

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Too many people from the west have been fooled into thinking that perfect hygine has to be had, at all cost.

That's why places like Rimping can seriously overcharge for a piece of fruit polished with turtle wax........and people take the bait hook line and sinker.

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Recent studies have shown that washing chicken does not do anything, since it's going to be cooked anyway, except spread the bacteria all over the sink which must be thoroughly washed afterwards. I wash chicken when making soup so any blood doesn't cloud my broth. I agree that many are over the top with food hygiene but also many do things improperly (like keeping things warm but actually at a temp that only promotes bacteria growth). Washing fruits and veg is important even if one is going to cut the peel off as the knife with pull the germs down into the flesh. There's a restaurant near my house that specializes in larb that even has a raw chicken variety on the menu!!

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JC .... Makro meat dept would have to be the WORST for hygiene ... seafood section another story sad.png

Yes. Absolutely true.

Allowing customers to go trough raw meat and fish themselves with their BARE HANDS?!?!?!

Unwashed hands that been holding the germ-colony on the shopping cart, not to mention the nose picking during the walk from the parking lot to the meat department.

Yes MAKRO's meat and seafood departments are truly DISGUSTING!!!

(Talking about MAKRO on Super Highway next to San Kamphaeng intersection)

They provide tongs and plastic bags for that. And how is this different from Tesco and Big C?

Hahaha,... I was waiting for the first to come with this utterly stupid and narrow reply.

YOU WIN!!!

It wasn't a reply, it was a question, indicated by the question mark at the end.

But never mind, on second thought I don't think I'm interested in your answer, or in talking with people who don't want to have a conversation.

Happy shopping at Rim Ping, the local fresh market or whatever else floats your boat.

Edited by WinnieTheKhwai
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Yes. Absolutely true.

Allowing customers to go trough raw meat and fish themselves with their BARE HANDS?!?!?!

Unwashed hands that been holding the germ-colony on the shopping cart, not to mention the nose picking during the walk from the parking lot to the meat department.

Yes MAKRO's meat and seafood departments are truly DISGUSTING!!!

(Talking about MAKRO on Super Highway next to San Kamphaeng intersection)

They provide tongs and plastic bags for that. And how is this different from Tesco and Big C?

Hahaha,... I was waiting for the first to come with this utterly stupid and narrow reply.

YOU WIN!!!

It wasn't a reply, it was a question, indicated by the question mark at the end.

But never mind, on second thought I don't think I'm interested in your answer, or in talking with people who don't want to have a conversation.

Happy shopping at Rim Ping, the local fresh market or whatever else floats your boat.

No, it was not a "normal" question.

It was a rhetorical one (they're also indicated by question marks at the end) composed in such a way to ridicule the whole thing passifier.gif

So therefore, your claim on the attempt to have a conversation is void.

And no, I don't shop at Rimping,... I leave that to Wannabe-HiSo-Thai and foreigners who still haven't found their way around Thailand.

But mainly because they don't have corporate-food-courts and I still didn't figure out; "is their fruit real, or plastic?"

Maybe Epoxy? Dunno, really,...

Let me know when you get back, will ya?

Edited by KhunVee
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