Most viewers of Somebody Feed Phil, a docuseries by Netflix that takes viewers on a trip to try the local food in many places around the world, agree that this show has something that sets it apart from most food travelogues. It is heartwarming from start to finish.
Moreover, the atmosphere, food, and people that Phil Rosenthal, a writer and producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, meets on his travels around Thailand are delicately presented through the program. Many restaurants are popular and have long queues. Many have a long history. Through it all, the ambiance that Phil Rosenthal encounters and the people that he chats with in each establishment bring to mind the community coffee forum concept, which has become the heart of each community in Thailand. Bangkok itself has had many coffee forums like this, from the past to the present.
It is well documented that the Thais have known how to grow coffee since the Ayutthaya Period. Coffee first became popular among aristocrats before it was made more readily available to commoners after the democratic revolution in 1932. Bangkokians welcomed the opening of countless coffee shops, many of which acquired almost legendary status as they have cemented their roles in Thai society.
The legendary coffee forum in Chinatown has been open to the public since 1927. Those who have Chinese grandparents might have watched them stop by for coffee, had Thai-Chinese breakfasts, and met with their peers here. Eiah Sae has become a brand of coffee shop that now has branches in several department stores.
Situated in Wang Burapha, this old entertainment arcade was home to 3 legendary cinemas and is close to Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre. On Lok Yun was the place to be for 1960s hipsters. It was a coffee forum for the great and good of the entertainment business, including those from both in front and behind the camera. The shop is still in its original place today and serves the same old unique menu of breakfast, tea, and coffee.