If enjoying street food is one of the must dos when visiting Bangkok, at Nang Loeng small community, you will definitely get more!
The community of Nang Loeng (not just the market) has been a part of Bangkok, located in the Pom Prap Sattru Phai area of town, for over 200 years. Though it’s located right in the heart of the city, about a 5 minute walk from Democracy Monument, follow the lane into the market from the main road, and you will experience yourself into one of the most well preserved historical markets in Bangkok.
Taste your way through delicious food at Nang Loeng
The best thing to do here at Nang Loeng, one of Bangkok’s oldest markets, is to eat! There are various kinds of delicious street foods and desserts available from local vendors at reasonable price to make your taste buds happy.
You can experience cooking your own ‘Pad Thai’, stir-fried rice noodles with egg, peanuts, dried shrimps, tofu, bean sprouts, tamarind juice and shrimps. It is commonly served as a street food and at casual local eateries in Thailand. The traditional Pad Thai recipe has been handed down from generation to generation since World War II. To cook palatable Pad Thai, you can use chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or a combination. You may also want to start with less chili pepper and, and work your way up.
Don’t forget to spare some room for a delectable selection of ‘kanom Thai ‘ (Thai dessert) or fresh seasonal fruits with the sweet-smelling sticky rice topped with succulent mango or durian and bathed in coconut milk – a perfect complement for a hot day.
If you are craving for some sweets at Nang Loeng, don’t miss homemade delightful desserts special prepared by local granny Hong, a lady who is believed to be in her 90s. She woke up early every morning to make Thai desserts with her love since World War II. You are allowed to observe how she prepares the desserts every morning. These palatable desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth include the toddy palm cake (kanom tarn), steamed banana cake (kanom kluay), Thai taro custard cake (pueak kuan), glutinous rice cake (kaw niew tad), layer sweet cake (kanom Chan) – a truly good and melt in your mouth flavour.
Learn and admire Nang Loeng culture through the eyes of the locals
Not merely good local food and desserts visitors can find at Nang Loeng market, this place has more history as a center of performing arts, entertainment and culture. It used to be a hub of entertainment both daytime and at night i.e. crowd gambling when there is a horse racing event at Nang Loeng Racing Course. Today we can only hear of this entertainment hub, just the story told by local elderly.
Visitors will not just get a glimpse of traditional culture but they can learn about it thoroughly from the locals. Here at Nang Loeng community, aunt Kanya, a lady who is now in her 70s and was born to a family of dancers is ready to teach you beautiful cultural performance, called ‘Sud Chatri’ dance. Aunt Kanya has been practicing the Chatri dance since she was young. Today she lives in the house which belongs to her ancestors. She is passionate to teach the ‘Sud Chatri’, a traditional folk dance that is now rarely practiced in Thailand dance.
Visitors will also be taught how to create the ‘Pang Puang’ or a vintage Thai scented powder garland used for worship. A powdery perfume from Thai herbs is mixed with stone powder to make the garlands. The garland is also used as an accessory by women to add fragrance to their hair.
Nang Loeng is also home to Mitr Chaibancha, legendary Thai actor, who appeared in more than hundreds of Thai films during 50s – 70s which was screening in Thailand’s first wooden movie theater ‘Sala Chaloem Thani’ or Nang Loeng Theater. It was built in 1918 and showed the films for over 75 years until it was closed in 1993. It was told that about 400 seats were sold at its peak time. The audience sat on the wooden benches and there was no seat reservation or usher checking tickets. It was told that the movie was very much thrilling so people wouldn’t leave the seat to go to the toilet.
Though visitors cannot go inside the wooden structure anymore, it is today one of the cultural landmarks and unique piece of culture due to its history and architectural styles.
The Nang Loeng community today remains one of the oldest and best preserved communities in central Bangkok. It is one of visitors’ favorite food and cultural destinations in the city. We do hope that Nang Loeng continues to thrive amidst the development in Bangkok and remains a secure haven for tradition, culture, and food.