In Chiang Mai The Salad Concept is a well-known lunch spot along Nimman Road. It isn't the only outlet of this salad bar - but it is the most popular and is always busy. Favoured for both fresh and healthy lunches and dinners, The Salad Concept is all about giving you a bit more flexibility around ordering salads, and fresh raw juices.
It is also a valuable location in that much of what is served is raw. That can be a great change of pace after eating a lot of cooked and heavily-spiced Thai food.
Their particular menu and ordering system allows you to choose what goes in your salad and pay small increments for additional toppings, above the basic 5 toppings that are included. All salads come with lettuce (which is separate from the 5 toppings you can select). You can also choose to have your salad served as a wrap at no extra cost.
The 'wrap salad' and the Tamarind and Sesame Dressing
There are other special toppings which all are charged at different rates. They include avocado and grilled tofu or even potato if you want to make your salad heartier. There are also a number of meat toppings.
My favourite basic salad - served in a wrap - is a delightful mix of lettuce with cherry tomatoes, onions, cucumber, capsicum and pumpkin.
All salads include a generous side serve of your choice of dressing, and there is one vegan option to choose from as well - the Tamarind and Sesame Dressing, a wonderfully sweet and tart contrast to the crispness of the salad ingredients. Other dressings include conventional choices as well as some more spicy options - like the Wasabi dressing and the the Northern-Style Green Chilli dressing.
Aside from their make-your-own style salads, they also have set salads on the menu, if you want something pre-designed for your convenience.
In addition to salads there are a few other options, including a selection of soups. The shiitake mushroom soup is beautifully soothing, peppery, and flavoursome; my go-to comfort food at The Salad Concept! If you are after something more adventurous, try the tomato and basil soup. It has a definite hit of chilli. Quite invigorating.
The Mushroom Soup and a raw fruit and vegetable juice
The range of juices is also an attraction, as - like the salads - they can be customised from a set list of ingredients. A great combination is the carrot, apple, guava and celery. The servings are a little on the small side, but it's nice to have the ability to tailor your juice.
If dessert is your kind of thing they have a range of cakes, and herbal teas and coffee are available to accompany the sweet end to your meal.
The Salad Concept in Nimman is really nice for sitting down for a meal. There are 4 different spaces you can choose to eat: out front with a view of the bustling Nimmanhaeminda Road, inside the main large seating area, out on the back porch with colourful cushions or next to the parking lot.
Enjoy fans outside and air-conditioning inside. There are servers for each table so you can easily get a number of dishes without having to get up and down to order. Additional basic condiments are available as well, so just ask your server. The Salad Concept also provides free WiFi.
Prices are not the cheapest in town, but they are still reasonable - especially because of the flexibility The Salad Concept provides, especially to those with particular food needs. Vegetarians and vegans in particular will find this spot a handy fall-back, if not a first choice, in the area.
For the basic salad or wrap with side dressing look at paying around 75 baht. It's a pretty hefty serving, so this is a clear bargain. The juices are 80 baht for up to 4 choices of fruit or vegetable juice combined. Soups are a little pricier at 90 baht.
The Salad Concept in Nimman is located on the corner of Nimmanhaeminda Road and Soi 13. It's easy to spot with a big sign out front. There is parking also available. This is located at the rear of the Salad Concept that opens out onto Soi 11.