No Photoshop, just Instagram

@chrispytine on Twitter and Instagram

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Thailand's Oldest Department Store

84 YEAR OLD Nightingale Olympic, Thailand ’s first ever department store, is STILL in business. I'm pictured above with the daughter of Nightingale's owner. 

Stuck in time, displaying 50 year old products still in their original packaging. The no air-condition two level store sells old-fashioned cosmetics, clothing and sports equipment.

Prices range from cheap to much. What was most amusing, were the purple uniformed staff diligently positioned behind each counter on the first floor, ready to handle customer enquiries like it would have been bustling in the past. These salesgirls were hired since the 80s and they stand, position unchanging.

There was only one grumpy one, who looked at me through the top of her glasses, wagging her finger and said, "no photos". The others were typically polite, smiley and curious in me as i am with them.

Taking my time to walk the rather small (but i imagine sprawling in the 1930s) level 1, i see products somewhat neatly displayed. All items were covered in 5-inch dust with items falling apart. The items not falling apart like shoes, rackets and balls are worth purchase consideration. After all, its a sign of remarkable quality, no? They withstood the test of time.

"Good thing these stairs weren't wooden", i thought to myself. As i turned round the spiral staircase to the second floor, i caught a tabby cat pissing red-handed on one of the "merchandise", a set of snooker poles. 

I looked at the nonchalant salesman sitting across. I lifted my arm wanting to alert him of the tabby's deed. My mouth opened, hesitating to make a sound. He seemed like he didn't want to be disturb. I decided against informing him, the snooker pole was covered with 10-inch dust that i felt the cat's pee probably did a favor than harm. At least the dust is partially gone, revealing the genuine colour. 

The unwelcoming salesman was in his 60s, engrossed with fixing something. I approached to see what. He was re-stapling music scoresheets. 

Nothing has changed in this department store, except the prices that has rose with inflation. Sports equipment on the second floor cost much, now being antiques. 

If you're looking for an off-the-beaten find in Bangkok, take a peek in Nightingale Olympics. Buy something for good measure & to keep it open! Located 25/41 Pharurat Rd in Chinatown. Not open on Sundays & closes before sunset Mons to Sats. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Taste of Siam

Tourists would be familiar with Som Tum (papaya salad), Tom Yum and the likes, but the flavours familiar to the tourists are not quite as authentic as what i've sampled having lived in Thailand for 18 months now.

Having eaten authentic Southern (papaya salad originated here) and Northern Thai cuisine, i didn't quite know there is also Bangkok cuisine! Recipes that likely originated from the royal family. A rare find today, these characteristically Bangkok unique dishes can be found at Baan ('house' in Thai) Wannakowit.
Not easy to locate, Baan Wannakowit (64 Soi Damnoen Klang Tai) can be found near Khao San road. The clue to entering the right soi would be to locate the line-up of lottery ticket sellers. Baan Wannakowit is not a public restaurant, but a 100-year old private house where a catering business owner lives with her family and eats these dishes daily.
Eating at Baan Wannakowit is like eating at a friend's house, as i remove my shoes to enter the home. Roaming room to room, seeing personal photos hung on the walls. There is no menu nor waiters here. With the language barrier, we ordered in faith. We had the owner bring everything she offers, as we were determined to try everything after a much tedious hunt for the place.
Everything was delectable. Khanom jeen sao naam, thin rice noodles soaked with a rich coconut milk dressing and topped with chunks of pineapple, sliced shallots, garlic and ginger.

Mee Krob, golden crispy rice with a sweet and sour sauce combined with shrimp, scallions and fried toufu. Served with fresh chives and bean sprouts. We also had green pork curry with prata.

We also had rice crackers with a pork, shrimp and peanut dip called khao tung na tung.

What was really special was khao chae, an unusual porridge where you put together yourself rice, jasmine-infused water and ice cubes. Yes, you heard me right. ICE CUBES in your rice. This is a summer porridge. You then eat the porridge served with various condiments like stewed radish, sweet and salty pork floss and fried yam balls.
The bill was no more than 800THB for 3 persons, including food and drinks. Highly recommended for a unique experience. Only by appointment, call +66 81922 6611 to book.

The epitome of home cooked food, found at Baan Wannakowit. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...