The Mystical Realm of Thai Food
Himmapan is the name of the mystical forest at the base of Mount Meru where mythical creatures in Asian legends co-inhabit with humans and angels. How appropriate the name is for a Thai restaurant located right in the Knies Kinderzoo in Rapperswil where you could possibly see elephants from the restaurant terrace!
Himmapan is also a lodge with the entrance separated from the zoo. Mystic ambience starts right from the passage from the parking lot where wooden crafted angel figurines are lining up along wooden panel to welcome guests. Zuri Girl visited Himmapan in mid-winter. Thus, glowing candlelight against the dark, cold air helped make our entry an appropriate transition into the esoteric realm.
When the elevator door opens to the upper floor, the experience was even more intensified. We could hardly believe this was Switzerland. The décor is all with warm wood. Crafted wood panel, angel sculptures, animal figurines, big Buddha image, Thai musical instruments are welcoming guests in the high-ceiling foyer. The sense of space and decoration are so uplifting for the mood, which continues seamlessly to the dining hall where, despite many tables, drapes smartly shields and define sections elegantly. This is a truly beautiful restaurant.
The Food & Drinks
There are 2 four-course menu to choose from, Bangkok Set at CHF 98 and Chiang Mai Set at CHF 115. But Zuri Girl eyed many dishes in the à la carte that were more exciting than the cliché Tom Yum Goong and green curry in set menus. So we ordered a few dishes to share, as in the Thai way. We started with Goong Takrai (lemongrass skewered fried minced shrimp – CHF 18.50) and Yam Hua Plee (banana blossom salad with coconut dressing – CHF 22.) Both are delicious, especially the latter. Banana blossom dishes are not very usual to find in restaurants even in Bangkok, so we were happy to discover this dish at Himmapan.
For the curry category we opted for Chu Chee Pla (pan roasted snow fish with dried curry sauce – CHF 42.50) instead of green curry or Massaman. This one is divine. The snow fish, lately-popular in Thailand but rare to find in Switzerland, was succulent, sweet, and has nice texture similar to cod. The curry sauce makes a wonderful combination.
Another untypical dish was Ped Krob Pad Cha (roasted duck with green pepper and Mekong whiskey – CHF 39.50.) Duck meat was tender while the skin crispy. Pad Cha is a favorite spicy stir-fry dish among Thai people that surprisingly less known by foreigners. So we had a blast again.
The desserts were a disappointment, though. Mapraw Onn (CHF 11.50) pudding and Kanom Rang Pung (CHF 12.50) are not authentic, in fact, not really Thai desserts. The latter is simply a waffle with fruits and coconut ice cream. Had we ordered a more typical Kaow Niew Mamaung (mango with sticky rice – CHF 13.50,) we might not be disappointed?
Himmapan has a full bar with many creative cocktails because it has an adjacent Thisiam lounge on the terrace, which in winter is covered and heated. It is cozy and relaxing and in summer opens to a magnificent view of the lake and the mountains, as well as elephants roaming the zoo. How lovely. We would have to return. But for that night we ordered the recommended Mai Tai and we had to repeat. There are many other “handcrafted” cocktails created with Thai ingredients like Thaijito, Himmapan sunset, and Thai Bellini (all CHF 18.) The beer list is not very exciting, but otherwise the bar list is rather full including wine.
Why We Love It
Untypical Thai dishes, extremely beautiful décor and special location in the Zoo with lovely view make Himmapan an unbeatable venue for a romantic or special dinner experience to remember.
Zuri Girl Tips
Make sure you make a reservation because Himmapan is usually fully booked. And make sure you go on a good-weather day to increase a chance to see the elephants enjoying their evening like in a mystical Himmapan forest!
Himmapan at Knies Kinderzoo
Oberseestrasse 42, 8640 Rapperswil (map)
Himmampan Website | Tel. +41 55 220 67 50 | Reservations Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening hours: Wednesday and Friday from 17:00h to 22.00h. Saturday from 16:00h to 22.00h, and only when the weather permits.
Article & Photo created by Zuri Girl Fah Panyada Ruengskul; a corporate marketeer from Bangkok who turned into a housewife-cum-entrepreneur in Zurich. Fah’s hobby is writing travel articles and gastronomy. After living in Sao Paulo for almost 3 years, she published 6 travel books of which 4 are about Latin American countries. Her latest book “Europe Beyond Sky” features skiing and dining experience in Gstaad among 5 other European cities. Check Fah’s travel and gastronomic exploration at her blog and Facebook/travelling beyond sky or Instagram – travellingbeyondsky