The culturally historic Chinese-Thai Huo Chuan Laung Steamer Pier built on the Chao Phraya in 1850 was reborn in 2017 as “Lhong 1919.”
/// THAILAND ///
Story: Taliw /// Photography: FavForward.com
The charm of original Chinese architecture and murals on 167-year-old walls have been preserved, and it’s already an everyday Bangkok tourist destination where locals relax and take pictures. Don’t forget to sample the delectable tastes and fantastic décor at these three dining and coffee-drinking establishments:
We start with a premium Chao Phraya riverside Thai restaurant at Wharf No. 41, the former site of a rice mill. Billed as “Rong Si seafood, intense Thai tastes in a modern Chinese atmosphere,” the original building was reinforced and preserved, with some worn-out components kept for décor: old roof tiles liven up the walls; a refurbished wooden banister serves as room divider.
- Stuffed lotus petals (miang kleep bua) with roasted tidbits – coconut, nuts, dried shrimp, etc. – and a unique and fresh dipping sauce.
- Crab stew (lon pu yai): a true Thai taste featuring the very freshest crab catch
- Stir-fried crab in curry sauce (pu phat phong karee): full-flavored, thick with fresh crab meat
- Deep-fried snapper in fish sauce (pla kaphong thawt nam pla) with a fine hidden sweetness
- From the drinks menu, iced black tangerine and honey yuzu
Nai Harng, a first-rate “street food” eatery, mixes old-fashioned with contemporary. The décor is full-on “Yaowarat” Chinese, with bright neon lights and the Chinese community of old Siam represented in murals and the open-kitchen design of the building itself. A grilled pork/river shrimp vendor cart out front emphasizes the street food theme.
- The famous signature dish, “Nai Harng fried rice,” from Patara Fine Thai Cuisine, a Thai chain with branches worldwide
- River shrimp baked in agar noodles (goong ob wun sen)
- Papaya salad (som tam), an intense Thai taste served with crispy-skinned, succulent barbecued chicken and hot sticky rice
- Healthy, colorful drinks made from organic butterfly-pea (anchan) flowers
- Anchan iced coffee, iced anchan and lime, and sugarcane juice with grass jelly
For a very special atmosphere plus drinks and sweets you’ll find nowhere else, we finish our tour at the Huo Chuan Laung Pier branch of Plearnwan Panich dessert shop, a restored wooden building connecting to an ancestral mausoleum. The flavor of this eye-catching retro-style café is based around antique Chinese-style furniture and ornamentation.
- “Half-breed” (luk khrueng) coffee combines old-style Thai boran or oliang with international coffee beans for a mellow taste, sweetness added with cold fresh milk
- Healthy dark iced sesame tofu coffee for the lactose-intolerant
- Sangkhaya: egg and coconut custard
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