Cold, Sweet and Happens to be Vegan Noodle
Life is always full of surprises. Case in point is a lot of things we thought we knew so well, yet still turned out to be not exactly what we knew at all.
Recently, while munching and cooling down through a bowl of chilled noodle in Bangkok Chinatown or Yaowarat, we came across one fact that totally set out a new perspective to Bangkok Chinatown, the area we thought we knew quite well. But then again, as said, it is still brimmed with the unknowns.
If you thought the Bangkok Chinatown’s centre is located on the main thoroughfare of Yaowarat Road as I did, you are wrong. As it turned out, the very soul of the settlement here is further south, covering the area from the Holy Rosary Church up to Wat Pathum Khongkha. This cluster is known as Talad Noi, from the Chinese word ‘Ta Lak Gia’ referring that this area that was once a smaller market when compared to then the main market called ‘Sampang.’
Today, while Yaowarat and Sampeng have become increasingly commercial with lots of changes, migrant influx and tourist (traps) attractions, Talad Noi still retains its original charms. This small labyrinth of community comprises small streets lined with shophouses which are still being used as the real residential areas for the natives.
According to Khun Supa Manaspakorn (E-Kim) – a Talad Noi born and bred, Talad Noi people are a close-knitted type. “We know everyone. We grew up together,” she explains. “And now that we have seen changes on Yaowarat and other places, we are ever more so united to try to keep our homes original and our cultures intact. What you are about to see is the real thing. Locals are truly locals who are still perpetuating the original traditions and cultures.”
The ancient Chao Zhou Shi Kong shrine – the first shrine of the area – is still the holiest ground of the Chinese community in the area. Khun Supa explains that while Chinese clans appear to be the most prominent, Talad Noi is in fact a multi-cultural community. The beautiful Holy Rosary Church represents Christianity, Wat Pathum Khongkha Buddhism and further up on Songwat Road is the beautiful Colonial building that is Luang Kocha Itsahak Mosque.
Talad Noi is also known for being ‘Shiang Kong’ – the yards for second-hand car parts and engines. You will not miss it when you are in the area. Car parts are everywhere.
Who would have that eating a bowl of noodle would feel like tracing back to the beginning of the era. All the stories and tidbits I learnt above was because of this delicious, sweet and cold noodle we portrays in this video. I was eating it and the lady who was selling it told me that this is the old recipe of her own mother. The noodle, as yellow and eggy as it may look, is in fact vegan. Made purely from wheat flour with the yellow hue coming from natural alkaline water (Nam Dang Durian) made from steeping the charcoals of durian husk. This noodle is a popular item during the Vegetarian Festival. But after years of keeping the recipe exclusively for family, the clan started to sell them on regular basis. The result is something we can munch upon, and enjoying any time of the day.