“Imagine trying to get dressed with those nails on!” I said to the lady seated next to me as the Thai Fingernail Dance started.
I was attending a traditional Khantoke dinner and show at the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre in northern Thailand. I was picked up from my hotel along with two other ladies and they invited me to sit with them during the dinner and show. The Khantoke Dinner Show features traditional Thai and Lanna dances typical of the region that have been performed over centuries between the tribes of Northern Thailand and neighbouring countries.
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Khantoke – ‘Khan’ – meaning tray and ‘Toke’ – meaning bowls, showcases the dishes of the northern region. As well as a regular menu, they also offer Halal and Vegetarian options. I went for the regular menu which included: (clockwise from bottom)
✈ Crispy Fried Pork Skin
✈ Fried Chicken
✈ Sweet Crispy Noodles
✈ Fried Pumpkin
✈ Burmese Pork (Hin-Lay) Curry
✈ Stir Fried Mixed Vegetables
✈ Minced Pork in Tomato Chilli Paste
✈ Fresh Fruit and Cucumber
✈ Tea and Coffee (not shown)
Each dish was different in flavour and while the Burmese Pork Curry, my favourite, packed a bit of a punch, there was nothing to unusual nor outstanding, I gather they are responding to international tastes and keeping things a little mild. Other than water, tea or coffee, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks were available for purchase, albeit a little on the pricier side. Half way through eating, the show started.
The Thai fingernail dance, a traditional dance that the Thai people are most proud of, is usually performed on special occasions such as weddings and greeting honourable or distinguished guests.
The Drum dance was not only powerfully impressive but also acrobatic which added to the awe of the performance.
The Thai Sword Dance was my particular favourite. Performed traditionally as a martial art, the dancer moved about with twelve steel swords, balancing them in a range of heart stopping poses.
Everybody has their photo taken upon arrival and after dinner this can be bought in a nice padded and embossed frame for an additional THB100 (around $AU$4.50. The evening lasted just over two hours, which is a nice enough time to enjoy the local cuisine, make new friends and be entertained in a relaxed environment all for under AU$30!
FreakyFlier paid for the dinner show independently.
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