Old Siam Plaza is a hidden treasure of Thai culture in Bangkok. It is one of those places people just consider old and outdated, but is about to become a living museum. The whole area surrounding Old Siam is also a window on the past with its old movie theater and Art Deco buildings.
Old Siam is divided in two main atriums and three floors. One area is where you will find all the food, I just love to wander through the many alleys, trying all the traditional snacks and sweets skillfully prepared right in front of you. Each stall seems to take great pride in their products and it’s a marvel to see how fast they can wrap a complicated ‘Mian Kham’ (see photo) where I always fail so miserably.
Here are just few of the many foods you can sample at Old Siam… I wish I had more, but taking photos is not allowed, I haven’t understood why yet. Here are few of the many dishes we saw and tried:
Kanom Kuy Chai (Steamed dumplings)
Sa Koo Sai Moo (Sago steamed balls)
Kanom Sai Sai (sweet coconut milk steamted in banana leaves)
Mian Kham (my favourite!)
Pak Mor (flour dumpling with stuffing steamed on a clay pot)
Sala Pao (many kinds of stemed dumplings)
Woon Grob (Jelly mixed with a lot of suger)
Kanom Buang (Crispy pancake with sweet or salty stuffing)
Kao Tang Savoey (Rice crackers)
Once you are done with your fun food sampling, don’t leave yet and go upstairs. You will find there an incredible amount of Thai silk shops. Many of these are also designing traditional Thai dresses for wedding and all kinds of traditional uniforms for special occasions. The work is incredible and the embroideries can be really intricate. I have never seen so many shade of color silk, it’s a treat for the eyes.
Several shops also specialize in all the ceremonies accessories and this is your chance de discover all kinds of traditional items you would never find in Pratunam market which seems to always be the tourist favorite market. We actually came here to buy silk to make our wedding costumes and the necessary accessories such as a golden belt and hairpins.
All these shops largely underestimated, it really feels like stepping into the profound culture of Thailand and you won’t see many tourists in there.
The entire area surrounding Old Siam is also fun to explore, often dedicated to wedding necessities, some shops even specialize in this tiny gift you have to distribute to each of the guests of your wedding party. Surprisingly, you will also find a large number of firearms shops.
Old Siam is located not far from Yaowarat Road (Chinatown). The best way to go there is by taxi, but remember that traffic is pretty bad in this area.
Old Siam Plaza on Burapha Road is open from 9am to 6.30 pm