Phil Rosenthal is a writer and producer for a hit US sitcom who switched his role to being in front of cameras through his food travelogue show Somebody Feed Phil. He takes viewers to experience cultures around the world, from Vietnam, Israel, Portugal, Mexico, and, of course, Thailand.
In the show, Phil does not just take us to high-end restaurants but wanders around fascinating streets and areas that are off the tourist trail. He tries local food, talks with people with a smile on his face, and learns about the different cultures he encounters.
Talad Noi, or “Talakkia,” is an area of Bangkok famed for its legendary restaurants and enthralling stories. This riverside community was founded in the early Rattanakosin era as a new market expanded from Sampeng. Hokkien or Hakka Chinese people were the first ones who settled here. This resulted in the area developing its own architectural style, like the Holy Rosary Church, one of Bangkok’s Roman-Catholic buildings, and foods that are hard to find anywhere else. It is also the venue of the original building of “Bank Siam Gummajon”, Thailand’s first commercial bank, which changed its name to Siam Commercial Bank after World War II. The Association of Siamese Architects recognized the importance of this baroque-style building with an “ASA Architectural Conservation Award” in 1982.
For food, there are many must-try vendors in the area. Chwee Kueh, for example, is an ancient Chinese dessert served in small cups. Made from steamed rice flour, it is good with stir-fried salted turnips and mushrooms and seasoned with chili vinegar. Look out for Chinese pastry shops with more than 100 years of history. These relics of the past serve both Chinese pastries and Sogiews, an ancient-recipe snack similar to the Chinese pastries but longer in shape with different stuffings like taro, monkey apples, or Chinese chives. One that has been open for over 70 years serves Chinese chive cakes with soft, thick cakes and lots of stuffing.
Nowadays, this market has been gentrified to create a street art area, a must-visit for all art lovers. Soi San Chao Rong Kueak (Hon Wong Kung Shrine) features colorful street art along its length. Another interesting spot is the Amazing Thailand Phoenix Wall painting collection in Somwang Palang Mongkol Alley in Soi Chao Sua Son. This artistic wonder was created with special techniques that enable it to be seen both during the day and at night. You can find beautiful paintings, such as a swan flying over the Chao Phraya River with the stupas of the Temple of the Dawn and Suphannahong Boat as the background. As you stroll around the area, look out for Nong Sukjai, a mascot that welcomes visitors, or Jin Chan, a lucky golden frog that will help you prosper. While looking at the opposite wall, you will find a matching dragon. These and many more examples of the area’s art and charms are guaranteed to leave visitors impressed and curious to know more.
Talad Noi (Charoen Krung 22) can be reached by MRT. Go to Hua Lamphong, then take a taxi or motorcycle to Charoen Krung 22.
To get there by BTS, go to Saphan Taksin Station, then take a boat to The Marine Department. Walk 100 meters into the soi, and you will reach Talad Noi. Bus No. 1, 35, and 75 also stop here.