We’ve been eating a lot of Indian food lately. It has probably something to do with the fact that… we absolutely love it! Unfortunately we haven’t mastered making Indian meals at home yet. We’ve been lucky to have a number of opportunities to indulge in our beloved Indian cuisine: a home-cooked feast at a friend’s place, a super sweet neighbour treating us to home-made Indian goodies from time to time , and streets full of great Indian restaurants on our recent visit to Pattaya.
It all started with a trip to Little India almost two months ago. (No, not the Big India – we didn’t leave the country) Phahurat or Pahurat (known as Thailand’s Little India) is a small area surrounding Phahurat road, home to the Thai-Indian community in Bangkok. The area is well known for its textiles, but what we were really interested in was… yes, you guessed it right – the food!
It’s not easy to get to Little India as it’s not near any BTS or MRT stops. But since we like exploring, we started the day with a Chaophraya boat ride from Saphan Taksin to Rajinee and walked on foot from there. It seems like the river boat is becoming one of our favourite ways to start a day out – like on this random visit to Dusit Zoo.
We explored the Phahurat market – textiles are not our thing, but the samosas that we bought were pretty good:) And then we stumbled upon the entrance to a beautiful hall. We didn’t know what it was, but it looked pretty so we walked in. The people inside were trying to show us that we needed to take our shoes off – confused and feeling that maybe we shouldn’t be there we were heading towards the exit. But then a really friendly Indian man approached us and asked, in perfect English, if we would like to visit the temple. Ok, so it was a temple. And of course we said yes. He explained where to find everything and apparently there was a mass on one floor, a free Indian meal on another (tick!) and even an Indian wedding a couple of hours later, which he said we were welcome to observe if we’re interested. What a warm welcome!
We spent well over an hour inside this Sikh temple. I’m not even sure how the time flew that fast! It’s not like there’s much to explore, but the food was amazing and it was nice to just calm down listening to some chanting in a language foreign to our ears. If you’re in Phahurat area Gurudwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha temple is definitely worth a visit. But apparently the food is only served in the morning – so if you want the full experience, get there before 10am.
We wandered around the area for a few more hours and somehow ended up in Klong Ong Ang market, set up on the banks of the Klong Ong Ang canal. With its extremely narrow pathways and never ending box-like stands all selling video games and guns it felt like some sort of an underground maze. When we finally got back out to the daylight at the other end, we were in China.
We made our way back to India, this time overground. We were getting hungry again, but something else distracted us: a tiny hole-in-the-wall shop with all sorts of baking supplies you can imagine! It’s incredible how much stuff you can squeeze into such a tiny space. And I found coconut flakes! (at that time I was almost losing hope of finding them for making these truffles) They have all sorts of bakeware (tins, cutters, shapes, cake decorating tools etc), baking ingredients (flavourings, icings, ground nuts, cocoa powder, butter and cheese in large quantities) and even all the stuff for coffee shops (ranging from tiny pretty spoons to coffee flavourings). Quite impressive. And the shop is actually easy to find if you know where to look. It is right opposite the India Emporium – you just need to cross the street.
And then, more food. On the corner of the lane adjacent to the Emporium building (next to 7/11) is a little street stall selling great samosas and tikkis really cheap. We bought tons to take home and then went across the street to look for a place to eat. If you take one of the narrow streets and get to the canal it’s like a different world. Instead of a busy main street everything here is calm and beautiful. Narrow walkways, a few street restaurants, some sleepy cats and an old Vespa passing by once in a while. I think it was at this place when we decided to find a Vespa event and ended up at the biggest Vespa caravan in Asia a month later.
On our way back to the boat we stopped at Pak Khlong Talat (Flower market) as we thought it would be a shame to not give at least a glance at this famous attraction as we were right next to it. And it’s actually beautiful. Not just the flowers – the veggie stalls at the other end, wooden baskets on wheels filled with ice, lots of bicycles and old motorcycles. I guess it was a good time to visit too, as the atmosphere was quite sleepy which really added to the charm of the place. We’ll sure be back at some point allowing more time for ourselves to explore this vast and beautiful market.
We finally got onto the boat, but managed to get off one stop too early! Maybe it was meant to be as we found a few architectural pieces that made us feel like we’re somewhere in Italy or France. India, China and Europe all in one day – not bad, huh? And when we got home, we still had plenty of time to chill outside before the sunset. That’s one good thing about getting up early: it makes the day feel much longer – a perfect way to extend the weekends!
More photos on Flickr here.