The Khantoke Dinner at the Chiang Mai, a little mountainous city in Northern Thailand, is the perfect place to explore the Thai culture via an exotic, traditional Thai dinner in the presence of some of the most talented performers and members of local hill tribes. The food is served on a ‘khantoke’ – a pedestal – while the guests sit cross-legged on the floor, consuming both, the food and the dances, at his/her leisure. A decades-old traditional show, Khantoke Dinner has evolved over the years but continues to remain reminiscent and informative especially for foreign tourists.
Start your journey with pickup from your hotel, you will land you in an interesting dinner place for the evening. Located on the outskirts of the mountainous city, the Chiang Mai ,Khantoke Dinner Show is a centuries-old tradition of northern Thai style food served on large platters placed on low-tables as the guests relax on floor mats. Locals celebrate various occasions like Weddings, funerals, and get-togethers in the Khantoke Dinner fashion. It is at a distance of 5 minutes from the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre. The Northern Thai food is served in a red pedestal tray and a variety of cutlery as tourists sit back and enjoy the various cultural shows presented for their entertainment. The first Khantoke Dinner Show was held more than 45 years ago with the intention of showcasing the uniqueness of the traditional Northern Thailand culture that is reminiscent of the Thai Lanna Kingdom that existed in the present day Northen Thailand. Over the years it has evolved in many ways, the dances have been improvised but the traditional cultural beauty has remained static and as fascinating as ever. These dances include the Candle dance (Fon Thiean), the Sword dance (Ram Dab), the Finger dance (Fon Lep) and many more accompanied by regional music.These culture-laden performances has a final showstopper – the special hill tribe show by members of the Meo, Lisu, Karen and many other tribes. These performances exist beyond the conventional descriptive beauty of dance shows, they’re exquisite and graceful. The Khantoke Dinner Show, that is held in a large built of teak, requires the guests to first remove their footwear before entering and provides for a brief introduction for visitors who are attending it for the first time. A hostess leads the guests to their desired place of seating on the floor with cushions all around. The array of cutlery then makes its way to the circular wooden tray situated on a pedestal in font of you; this pedestal is known as the ‘Khantoke’. The show is segmented into two: the first part begins at 8 hrs and the second part, which begins much later, is held in a huge amphitheatre. It is possible to book in advance and get seats on the floor as they are closer to the show. One is also at the liberty to eat as he or she is comfortable eating: by using a spoon or fork or just eating by bare hands – the traditional way. In Thailand, eating with bare hands has much to do with the occasion and place. It is not reflective of any social class and is not looked down on either. A must-see for foreign tourists especially, the Khantoke Dinner show exudes warmth and friendliness throughout. The show ends with the performers inviting the guests to come forward and join the finale dance; the sense of equity and joy that fills up the amphitheatre is worth remembering even on the way as you head back to your hotel after the show is over. !