Deities and dosas

Last weekend we decided to give my visiting mum a taste of a more colourful part of Bangkok, away from our boutiquey little Thonglor ‘hood and the mall-topia that is Siam. Our destination – a little patch of Southern India in Silom.

First stop was the Sri Mariamman Hindu temple on the corner of Silom Road and Soi Pan. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Uma and was built by Indian settlers in Bangkok in the 1870s. Just as gaudy and colourful as any Hindu temple you’d see in India, it was packed with a mixture of Thai and Indian worshippers offering garlands of jasmine flowers, bunches of bananas and platters of coconuts in exchange for blessings. The scene offered a sensory feast of fragrance, colour and life.

We then ate at Chennai Kitchen just down the road – a deceptively simple looking eatery with outstanding (and cheap!) South Indian cuisine. We had masala dosas, uttapams and vadais, with slightly salted lime juice and masala tea. Each dish came with delicious chutneys, sauces and sambals – all highly spicy yet very more-ish.

Two doors down was a North Indian restaurant featuring an eye-catching array of Indian sweets out the front, but after a big lunch we chose to admire them rather than indulge (too many iberry trips…too much sugar consumption!).

We then ventured across the road to the quirky, charming, apple green-coloured Kathmandu Gallery. Owned by Thai photographer Manit Sriwanichpoom, the restored shophouse features his personal photography and art collection on the ground floor (plus books and Indian bits and pieces for sale). I particularly liked this kitsch little statue of ‘Pink Man’ from one of the owner’s previous exhibitions:

Upstairs houses rotating exhibitions, and during our visit an exhibition by French photographer Claude Estebe called ‘Japanese Legs’ was showing. I have a fascination with all things Japanese, particularly street fashion photography, so it was right up my alley. This was one of my favourite shots:

Overall it was a fun and colourful exploration of an interesting and very vibrant little pocket of Bangkok – one that’s well worth visiting!


1 Response

  1. Xander June 17, 2008 / 2:55 pm

    That’s one of my favorite sois in Bangkok. I like the cosmopolitan and urban feel of the Silom area in general, but that street in particular has a distinctly exotic atmosphere. I’ve never tried the Chennai Kitchen, though. I’ll have to check it out next time. -X

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