The Last Patina Of Bangkok Left Standing
Mother Roaster – Coffee handcrafted with passion in the most unexpected of corners
What Coffee Place!?
Literally a hole in the wall. Standing and pondering at the entrance, it looked nothing where coffee connoisseurs will congregate.
Simply put, here where we stood is without doubt an industrial hardware junk yard with stuff strewn all over. Walking up the rickety wooden steps with neon lights flickering at the side of the rail required some nerves. We wouldn’t have came if curiosity had not got the better of us.
We heaved a sigh of relief when the upper storey opened up to a sun-lit veranda filled with all sorts of tropical potted plants. The air, un-mistakenly filled with the aroma of fresh brews and coffee roasts drifting out from the most modern of cafe settings.
We found our coffee place! Mother Roaster – freshly roasted coffee pods and brews handcrafted with passion in the most unexpected corner of Talad Noi.
The Lesser Known Patina Gem In Bangkok Left Standing – Talad Noi
A forgotten sleepy industrial riverside town shunning away from the touristic limelight of Chinatown, sits Talad Noi.
Located at the southeastern part of Bangkok’s Chinatown resting along the twists and turns of the Chao Phraya River that connects the modern Thai capital with its historical contours, Talad Noi’s history dated way back before Bangkok was even established.
Earliest settlers were Portuguese arriving after the fall Ayutthaya, later joined by Chinese and Khmer immigrants.
Today, Talad Noi’s time worn patina reflected how it has escaped the radar of commercial and real estate developments in the city.
A peep into the local dwellings behind the narrow plots of backstreet alleys reveal families dining with chopsticks in Chinese traditional round table settings. Shop owners locking up the metal shutters in front of their traditional shophouses calling it a day and a group of elderly men gathered in their wooden stools and armchairs outside their homes concluding yet another day.
The mountainous pile-up of abandoned automotive hardware spilling out into the streets from shophouses form the arteries and bloodlines of the second hand automative spare parts trade in this historic Chinese ethnic community.
Baan Rim Naam -A hipster revival hood in the making
Talad Noi may feel abandoned and forgotten but not until you take a closer look. Made up of narrowly inter-connected plots of alley ways, each path not only led to decades old temples, shrines and heritage mansions but a colorful cornucopia of local street art and artistic photo wall exhibits in the most unexpected of turn of the streets. Subtle forms of modernity are seeping in with discretion. Change is inevitable.
The area’s genetic make up of narrow alleys and small plot ownerships has prevented massive commercial acquisition of land space, rendering its fate of being transformed into high rise residential project impossible. But the local arts and creative communities are eyeing the potential and opportunities this space could offer.
Stillness creeps into the dark after sunset as residents reside into their own homes. A faint drift of groovy lounge music then take over from the dead of the silence. At the north-western side of the Talad Noi’s main marine pier along the river front. Baan Rim Naam became the heart and soul of the sleepy town’s nightlife scene.
One of the last remaining 200 year-old warehouse since the reign of Rama II in the 1980s, it sits along the fringe of the Chao Phraya river bank in Talad Noi. The space stood amidst its tattered wood and corroded zinc metal roofing sheets with sprawling vines creeping along walls establishing new territories.
Bangkok’s duo private kitchen culinary chefs decided to best transform this space with little to no intervention to its current state of ruin. Eclectic interior furnishings and a minimal fresh coat of paint was all they needed to transform the warehouse into the rightful place to be among expats and the younger generation of affluent Bangkokians.
A new communal and intimate outdoor dining experience complete with a nostalgic river view took shape and established itself as a hipster revival hood. Such is the charm of Talad Noi; where every unexpected corner sits a gem waiting to be discovered.
Talad Noi’s long historical and cultural identity possess all the nostalgic elements that people are longing for amid the relentless waves of urban development in Thailand’s capital city.
Being a lot less crowded than Chinatown comes with lower space rental and made it an affordable option for the local arts and creative community to develop the vicinity artistically.
In recent years, local food artisans have been experimenting with the space as part of their creative outlet to express and showcase their unique culinary philosophy and with much success.
Tourism is the lifeline of this country. The dilemma between conservation and development will always surface. On which side will Talad Noi be in a few years? As change is the only constant, no one knows exactly.
There are one too many experiences to explore along the Chao Phraya River which we were unable to cover in our short day trip. Bangkok River is a great resource to check out for more off the beaten track destinations along the river.