Bangkok is undergoing an organic onslaught (and it’s about time)
The term “organic” often gets used unscrupulously by businesses who see it merely as a marketing gimmick to lure in conscientious, but gullible, shoppers. By definition, that which is organic belongs to a large class of chemical compounds in which one or more atoms of carbon are covalently linked to atoms of other elements, most commonly hydrogen, oxygen, or nitrogen. Which is to say, you could call most things on this planet “organic”, and kind of get away with it.
But organics as a “movement”, for lack of a better term, refers to the organizations and individuals involved worldwide in the promotion of organic farming and other organic products. Organic farmers utilize fertilizers such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal, but they also eschew chemical pesticides and place an emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting. Similarly, organic livestock producers humanely raise their animals, with feed that is not a toxic mix of antibiotics and steroids.
In Bangkok, edible organics are everywhere—all you have to do is look for them. If you’re looking for a traditional organic grocery store, Lemon Farm (who’s flagship store is at 169 Pradit Manutham Road, Lat Phrao) have long been servicing the city’s clean eaters with fresh organic fruits and vegetables. They have five branches all over Bangkok, including Be Organic by Lemon Farm (31, The Portico, Langsuan Rd), which also incorporates a restaurant.
Farmer’s Markets also take place on a fairly regular basis in the city, and two of the most well-known are the Thailand Farmers Market held every second weekend of the month at K Village (Sukhumvit Soi 26), and the Bangkok Farmers Market outside the Gateway Shopping Center in Ekkamai (976/9 Sukhumvit Rd), which occurs on the second weekend of the month.
A shopping option that incorporates more than just food is Ectopia, located on the 4th floor of Siam Discovery (989 Rama I Rd), which offers a vast selection of environmental-friendly products from around the kingdom and elsewhere—from organic clothes and cosmetics to stationery items and green gadgets, as well as chemical-free merchandise.
It’s also nice to know that going organic does not mean you have to forego fine dining. In fact, there are so many restaurants in Bangkok incorporating organic and sustainable products into their menus that it would take too much space to name them all. But perhaps the one restaurant making the biggest strides in going “local” is Haoma (231/3 Sukhumvit Soi 31), where the aim is to have as much as possible on the menu grown right on the premises in the huge back garden (supplemented by fresh produce sourced from farmers, breeders, and fishermen in the vicinity of Bangkok). What Chef Deepanker Khosla has done here is quite amazing, and well worth a look—whether you’re a fervent foodie seeking a delicious meal, or an eco-warrior interested to see one of the lowest carbon footprint operations in town.
Even wine lovers can go green, and at About Eatery (Ocean Tower II, Sukhumvit 21, Soi 3)—which specializes in natural, organic, and bio-dynamic wines—both the selection, and the expertise of owner Guilio Saverino, is vast. Or, if you prefer home delivery, FIN Wines (www.fin-wine.com) is a local distributor focused on boutique producers that utilize sustainable, organic, and bio-dynamic production methods. Cheers to that!