Eighty-nine-year-old Charin Singkarat learned how to make American-style pies in Los Angeles for 18 years, so she could return to Mae Suai to bake 30 rounds of heaven every morning.
Working in a hospital by day, taking a pastry course at night and always experimenting from cookbooks, each roll of her pin brought Singkarat closer to a dream of buying her own piece of land back home and letting others enjoy the fruit pies of her labor. And did she ever! A stream runs through it, lined with rustic bungalows nestled between tropical trees from which jackfruit, mango, toddy palm, banana, papaya, durian and coconut are plucked to make their grand entrances into the pies. The open-air diner has fridge cases filled with perfect mounds of masticatory magnificence (other flavors like pumpkin, taro, pineapple and macadamia also come from her plantation, and the honey from her aviary), each topped with a buttery, flaky crust straining above solid fillings. You fill your tray up with slabs of pie (slices are for lesser pies), slide into a teakwood booth, and dig in with a thick, robust, aromatic cup of northern Thai coffee. Special Agent Dale Cooper wishes this was his jurisdiction.
Charin Garden Resort sits off the Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai highway, and travelers and truckers always pull over to re-fuel for no more than a couple of dollars, a Pavlovian reaction to the sign for pie or the Burma Shave-esque billboards leading up to the entrance.