A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

Lunch in the Time of Conflict

Posted date:  May 14, 2010

 One of the only street stalls open near Thanon Silom, Bangkok

I live just off of Thanon Silom, which in addition to being the area of Bangkok with arguably the most restaurants and street food, is also directly adjacent to the epicentre of the current conflict. As a result, the streets in this part of town feel particularly empty today:

Soi Sala Daeng, Bangkok

Shops are closed, rubbish isn’t being collected, armed soldiers outnumber civilians, and the contents of my fridge are starting to run low. And what is normally an area with an overabundance of food has now been reduced to one stall, the lone noodle vendor pictured at the top of this post.

Stopping by for a bowl today at lunchtime, I had the following conversation with one of the ladies running the stall:

Wow, you’re open today. Aren’t you scared?
Yes it’s scary, but I have to earn money. We haven’t been able to open in five days!
How has it been today? Have you heard any gunshots or explosions?
Yes, but from way over there [points towards Lumphini Park].
You must be selling well since you’re the only place to eat at Sala Daeng. How late will you stay open?
We’re almost sold out now!

And indeed she was selling well, with the bulk her customers, not surprisingly, hungry journalists:

Photojournalists eating lunch at a noodle stall near Thanon Silom, Bangkok

7 Comments for Lunch in the Time of Conflict

Take care in these uncertain times and hope you can restock your fridge soon. Please keep us posted on the situation there.

I hope you stay safe Austin. I am sorry that you have to witness this but I am sure you know Thai people well. Hope things are resolving in a better way soon.

I pray that the entire nation resolves its divisions. Growing up in the subcontinent on the Bengal border of Bangladesh through the 60s & 70s, i have lived through my share of extreme poverty, violence & bloodshed [that continues unabated] as has most of SE Asia. We always saw Thailand as an abode of relative peace and progress. Could not imagine that divisions within Bangkok or central provinces ran so deep or so bitter. Isaan, maybe, but so close? Hope Thailand avoids the mistakes of other countries and is soon her vibrant self.

Be well… the conflict must be taking a toll on businesses. I really hope it gets resolved very very soon!

Just a short message – probably not the best place to do it – to tell you that I’ve been following your Food Blog for years now and that I love it. In my opinion one of the very best blogs on Thai culture around. Thanks for everything!

I know this area……. will be staying around it again this coming July….

Dear Austin,

I am holding a Thai forum for the Greater China region.

I have been reading your blog for 2 years, I always wanted to translate your works into Chinese and re-posted them to my forum to introduce those wonderful Thai foods and restaurants which you remcommended but for anyhow, I never did it.

However, after I read this article, I would love to have your permission to translate it in Chinese and post it, with pics, to my site. There will be credit and link to your blog.

Best Regards,


Wanna say something?