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The democracy of food courts


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#1 reader

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 07:59 PM

Excerpts from GQ magazine

 

No one does shopping malls better than Bangkok. The city is a sprawling, multilayered metropolis of endless energy, with skyscrapers slapped on top of old shophouses and small alleyways that weave through the city blocks like sidewalk cracks. Yet even with all the stark differences that the city highlights, there is something universally Thai about heading to the mall.

 

Yet the nerve center of any Thai shopping mall is the food court. And while I’m sure there are people who will disagree with me, it turns out a lot of the mall food in Thailand is legitimately good, far better than the Sbarro and Hot Dog on a Stick you might find in America. You can pick anything from boat noodles and sukiyaki to chile-spiked spaghetti and deep-fried steak cutlets, all crammed together and accessible via escalator.

 

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of Bangkok street food worth seeking out—like the places that serve fried oyster omelets in Chinatown, the noodle vendors who cook pad Thai over coal-powered wok stations in Old Bangkok, or the gentleman who has been hawking late-night grilled pork skewers in the go-go bar–filled Patpong district for two decades plus. (Whenever I ask him what his secret recipe is, he just points to his chest with a sly look and says, mak duay jai rak, “It’s been marinated with a loving heart.”)

 

As a Thai-American private school punk, those were my first loves, but I learned that even street food has limits. If you want to see how a majority of Bangkok’s citizens eat, go to a food court. Thai society is notoriously self-aware of social class—everything from clothes to restaurants to shopping habits are categorized as either hiso (high society) or loso (low society)—but the food court is the place where you’ll see a construction worker eating from the same kiosk as a business tycoon. The reason for this is actually pretty straightforward: Imagine you were a vendor who made spectacular seafood curry and sold it from a street cart daily. Maybe you hustle hard and at some point earn enough money to upgrade your operation. You pay the token rent at one of the smaller malls out in the outer boroughs of the city, and maybe accumulate enough name recognition to expand into another slightly larger mall down the road. Soon enough you’re expanding across the city. That’s the Thai dream right there.

 

Continues with photos

https://www.gq.com/s...-courts-bangkok



#2 vinapu

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 11:37 PM

 

 If you want to see how a majority of Bangkok’s citizens eat, go to a food court. Thai society is notoriously self-aware of social class—everything from clothes to restaurants to shopping habits are categorized as either hiso (high society) or loso (low society)—but the food court is the place where you’ll see a construction worker eating from the same kiosk as a business tycoon. 

GQ is trying to spoil an excellent Thai food with too much wax in it's lyrics.

 

I doubt very much we see may construction workers with their 300 /day salary feeding in food court  and  business tycoon lining up to get his Pad Thai will be scarcer even more.  



#3 Alexx

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 12:23 AM

I'm with vinapu on this one. I think that's a fairy tale, albeit a nice one. Food courts aren't any more democratic than the rest of Thailand and are mostly a middle class affair. Many lower class Thais are very reluctant to visit classy malls in their shabby clothes, and at the other end of the spectrum, business tycoons are also a rare species at food courts.

#4 reader

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 02:46 AM

For what it's worth, I generally agree with those who replied to this post and also with those who replied to post about "Massage parlor sex 'sinking' Bangkok?"

 

I posted the former because it was from a popular men's magazine and referenced places most readers would be familiar with.  The latter I posted because it was simply bizarre and provided a bit of comic relief (surprised it was even taken seriously).

 

But I think I can make better use of the time spent searching for unusual articles.  I'll have more fun just commenting on the posts of others.



#5 vinapu

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 03:30 AM

For what it's worth, I generally agree with those who replied to this post and also with those who replied to post about "Massage parlor sex 'sinking' Bangkok?"

 

I posted the former because it was from a popular men's magazine and referenced places most readers would be familiar with.  The latter I posted because it was simply bizarre and provided a bit of comic relief (surprised it was even taken seriously).

 

But I think I can make better use of the time spent searching for unusual articles.  I'll have more fun just commenting on the posts of others.

Don't feel discouraged, you are not at fault for posting somebody else's dubious inventions and it's great community service to let us know what others are saying about subjects we are also familiar with. 

 

Your time is used very well, rest assured.



#6 Alexx

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 03:44 PM

Again I agree with vinapu. reader, we do realize that was the author's opinion, not necessarily yours just because you shared it with us. I'm glad that you posted that piece, so that we could add our two cents worth.

#7 reader

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 09:56 PM

Don't feel discouraged, you are not at fault for posting somebody else's dubious inventions and it's great community service to let us know what others are saying about subjects we are also familiar with. 

 

Your time is used very well, rest assured.

 

 

Again I agree with vinapu. reader, we do realize that was the author's opinion, not necessarily yours just because you shared it with us. I'm glad that you posted that piece, so that we could add our two cents worth.

 

Thanks for the encouragement.  I come across a lot of stuff that I eventually pass on because I question the source or that it relates to a matter well-covered in the international media.  I avoid purely political matters for the obvious reasons.

 

Having said that, I think I need to be somewhat more selective in finding the balance between member interest and content.



#8 vinapu

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 10:30 PM

 

 

Having said that, I think I need to be somewhat more selective in finding the balance between member interest and content.

Don't even attempt to please membership as it always will be 3 camps

 

-interested who agree with the message

-interested who don't agree

-disinterested 



#9 spoon

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 12:07 AM

Thanks for the encouragement. I come across a lot of stuff that I eventually pass on because I question the source or that it relates to a matter well-covered in the international media. I avoid purely political matters for the obvious reasons.

Having said that, I think I need to be somewhat more selective in finding the balance between member interest and content.


There are 2 news that will interest me the most, things that is informative (like road closure, psa etc) and boys.

As always, it is always a good practice to question the source of a news to avoid spreading false news, but not to please your readers or forumer here.

#10 pong

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 12:55 AM

@vinapu: sorry, now I really have to disagree with you, as I think Ive visited more as you in greater BKK-at least all those of the 40+ tesco and 50+ BigC-incl. the former Carrefour+ a few dozen in the deprtmtstore chains like MALL, BigKing (closed now), . One DOES see 100s of workers in overalls/spoilt clothes, also schoolboys (well, girls too) in their shorty pants after 15.30 and whole families who clearly in todays Thais times would qualify genuinely for the new blueflag cheap shops card.

In fact when it was stil there Carrefour (a multi country giant hyperstore vendor-from FR, but about anywhere in South+East EUR + South AM and formerly East-Asia) they intendedly sold their foodcourt plates for a little less as on the street-to entice the punters in. And they did-often with giant Qs at 12.00.- khao moo daeng for just 15 bt and the nice hot desserts (Lychees in syrup-10 bt) I remember quite well. What is also sadly quite easy to spot is that many of former very busy of those have come to hard times-without any clear reason or nearby street-side Thai style vendorcluster having set up. As a very weak remainder of this- Terminal 21, beside Asoke/Sukhumvit BTS/MRT crossing also does that-the food there is mostly horrible mass produced though. Still plenty of choices for 30 bt. Also full to overcrowded with young students-great for eye candy shopping.

I travelled all over BKK and around for years and at around 12.00 I usually just stopped/stepped of the bus at the frist of shuch places we would pass by. Oh-when it started Crfr even offered free internet after a small purchase.

But the discusiion is also very superfluous-there is hardly any difference betweenthat recently so enraved strtfd or what these courts offer. In Malaysia the difference is a little bigger, as seems to me, but though Ive visited both KUL and Penang quite often, and even JB and KB and KK and Kuching, Ive not really compared or bothered too much. But the giant foodcourt at that Mall along the KTMB-komuter just south of Sentral (sorry, forgot the name) did it all right though.



#11 vinapu

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 01:25 AM

@vinapu: sorry, now I really have to disagree with you

no need to be sorry , I'm not Gospel writer here.

 

My beef with the story is not a fact that Thais of all walks of life are eating in malls. but this sentence "but the food court is the place where you’ll see a construction worker eating from the same kiosk as a business tycoon". 

 

I doubt very much that tycoons will be losing face by lining up to get 30 baht plate of styrofoam food at Terminal 21



#12 Alexx

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 07:58 AM

Also, the crowd that eats at the Siam Paragon food court is different from the crowd that eats at a Big C food court. A typical dish might cost 80-90 baht at the former and 40-50 baht at the latter. The assumption that people from all walks of life come together at the same food court to enjoy their meals in happy unison is the kind of stuff fairy tales are made of.

The article was specifically about shopping malls, not the supermarket food courts that obviously attract quite a different crowd. Next we could talk about outdoor food courts and we would have reached "strtfd" as pong would call it. My eyes are still hurting.

#13 steveboy

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 09:38 AM

I once ate some stuff at the food court  in Central World mall.  Horrible!



#14 Alexx

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 12:31 PM

I once ate some stuff at the food court  in Central World mall.  Horrible!


On top of their horrible food, their drinking water probably isn't as good as your home filtered version either. ;)

#15 ggobkk

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 08:37 PM

Maybe various facets of humanity are found in food courts due to convenience rather than for social interaction.






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