Urban Ally Festival ‘Ruam-Mitr-Muang’ at BKKDW 2022

Urban Ally Festival ‘Ruam-Mitr-Muang’ at BKKDW 2022
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‘Ruam-Mitr-Muang’, the festival by Urban Ally tells the story of the old town ‘Phra Nakhon’ in a contemporary context. And Food Culture in Bang Lamphu is our highlight here.

During the Bangkok Design Week 2022 on February 5 to 13, the festival ‘Ruam-Mitr-Muang’, organised by Urban Ally, invites visitors to revisit the old town district of ‘Phra Nakhon’ and join activities like exhibitions, showcases, talks, and tours. Find the traces of creativity in this historical district through various collaborative activities between the residents and the old town lovers. See more info about these activities during the festival via the website: https://bit.ly/3AmJxNa

In addition, an international conference ‘Urban Refabricating Allies: Re-fabrication Urbanism’, is held for the community to learn and adapt to their community. Urban Ally in collaboration with Creative Economic Agency (CEA), helped in developing the Phra Nakhon district into a creative district as a part of Bangkok’s journey to the World Design Capital in 2022.

Why revisit ‘Phra Nakhon’? – Phra Nakhon is the district that originated with the City of Bangkok. It is rich with classic materials, ready to evolve, to be re-discovered and re-created as the next chapter of this ancient district with over 200 years of history. One of Phra Nakhon’s most important districts and one of the main areas hosting Bangkok Design Week 2022 and the Urban Ally Festival ‘Ruam-Mitr-Muang’ is ‘Bang Lamphu’.

Bang Lamphu is an old neighborhood full of layers of history. There are tales that have been told through the citizens of Bang Lamphu, the locals who had settled and thrived with the emergence of Rattanakosin. Their livelihoods have evolved through times for more than two hundred years. Not only the layers of history can be seen through physical habitats such as buildings, but also the living cultures such as food.

Traditional Thai desserts by Mother Ngarmjit, Bang Lamphu’s original

Bang Lamphu has been known as the traditional Thai street-food source. There are many types of ready-to-eat food stalls lined along almost every street of the district at affordable prices. Foodies frequently revisit Bang Lamphu when they think of the ready-to-eat food made according to traditional recipes.

“The (festival) organisers want to communicate that food has to improve people’s well-being. Not just delicious, beautiful, and clean…”, Dr. Niphatchanok Najpinij stated. As one of the project’s consultants and a workshop facilitator, Dr. Niphatchanok or Dr. Ning has been doing field research in the Bang Lamphu district for several months. Dr. Niphatchanok Najpinij is a lecturer at Graduate School, Suan Dusit University, and a specialist in food science and food culture. In collaboration with the Op-portunist group and Urban Ally, Dr. Ning co-created the interactive experience food program in Bang Lamphu as a part of the City Reinventing Lab by Urban Ally.

Dr. Niphatchanok ‘Ning’ Najpinij

“Since the founding of the city of Bangkok, people of all races have come to live and make their living in the Bang Lamphu area which is one of the oldest districts of Phra Nakhon. They have preserved, developed, and recreated the food culture from the knowledge and recipes they inherited from their native ancestors. For example, the Mon (Raman) have Khao Chae, the Chinese have white boiled rice, the Muslims from Chakrabongse Mosque alley have Massaman curry and many other legendary dishes. The rice & curry, and many of traditional sweets are the combinations of all nations”, Dr. Ning explained the contents of the food program she will conduct during the festival which title can be translated as “Trace the taste (of the nations) in Bang Lamphu.

Another Bang Lamphu’s original, Mother Siri’s food stall, selling crispy Thai pancake ‘Khanom Bueng”, and “Khao Chae”, the traditional menu of rice served in chilled floral water. “Khao Chae” is most popular during summertime.

Nowadays, diversity is still growing. Bang Lamphu welcomes new groups of people that come with tourism such as Indian, Nepalese, Korean, Japanese, Israeli. As well as people from different regions of Thailand who come to work in the city of Bangkok and naturally bring their regional food with them, adding the colorful pallette to the original Bang Lamphu Food Culture.

“How can we use food as a medium to re-think the way we build and live in the cities? – This question is in a closing chapter of Carolyn Steel’s book, “Hungry City – How Food Shapes Our Lives”. It was the inspiration for our “Tastes Table” workshop”, Dr. Ning explained. “Food and cities are interrelated in many dimensions. In terms of spaces, food involves from the dining table and the kitchen in a house to the street vendors, from the community market to the city administration. There are also food processing, production, and distribution until food reaches the consumers. Feeding food into the system for today’s city dwellers is a necessary activity that we often overlook. Not only providing enough but also having to respond to the consumers’ taste, which determines the demand of the market as well.”

The famous Massaman curry from the kitchen of the Muslims from Chakrabongse Mosque alley.

“Tastes Table” is a free workshop, designed for only 30 participants per workshop. The first workshop will be on February 6, 2022, at 4:00 p.m., and the second will be on February 11, 2022, at 4:00 p.m., The workshops will be held at BangLamphu Museum on Phra Sumane Road.

Dr. Ning gave us a glimpse into her workshop, “During the workshop, there will be food for tasting, selected from diverse ethnic groups. These food are difficult to cook at home. Most people have to buy the ready-to-eat, they don’t know how to cook it themselves. And the food can be bought mostly in Bang Lamphu. These selections will be served to the participants to try them out with all senses. The experience will be supervised by the facilitator, and accompanied by learning materials. Therefore, in addition to tasting the delicious food, it is also a learning experience for participants. They will have access to a deep understanding of the origin and refined nutritional value of the food they taste”.

The seats are limited, please make the reservation at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/…/tastes-table-tickets


To explore and revitalise this classical district at Bangkok Design Week 2022 – “Co With Creation”, on 5-13 February 2022, in compliance with public health regulations and Covid-19 guidelines; please visit www.bangkokdesignweek.com

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PHOTO CREDITS:
  • Urban Ally
  • Dr. Niphatchanok Najpinij

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