Where to find whole and locally sourced foods in Bangkok

Interview with Regan and Joke from Birds in a Row – Part 1

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Regan Suzuki and Somkiat Pairojmahakij— also known as Joke– the proprietors of Birds in a Row- Whole Food Catering and Delivery Service to talk about eating and finding vegetarian, whole and locally sourced organic foods here in Bangkok.

This week’s Vegetarian Column features part one of our two-part interview (look for part two in the coming weeks). While we were talking, I got to sample some of the amazing vegetarian dishes that Joke prepared. I must say, I especially loved the apricot couscous, the okra Mediterranean and the eggplant stuffed with walnuts and feta cheese. Delicious! At any rate….on with our interview.

Can you give ROB readers any tips on finding locally sourced and organic products here in Bangkok?

There are a number of supermarkets offering organic and pesticide-free produce in Bangkok, though this is not necessarily synonymous with locally produced. While some of it may be from smaller scale producers, much of the supermarket produce is marketed by commercial-scale distributors even if originally sourced from smaller farms.

One of these larger distributors, Swift, has contracts directly with farmers and I understand there are efforts at present to organize weekly fresh produce box collection points (please contact me if interested in this initiative). We buy much of our organic/ pesticide free produce from Doi Kham part of the Royal Projects Foundation . The Royal Projects Foundation currently runs four research stations and thirty-five Development Centers, which draw from and care for 295 villages comprised of 14,109 families (mainly in Northern and hilltribe areas).

Other good options are, directly connecting with producers (Raitong Organics in Sisaket and Rai Pluk Rak in Ratchaburi are on the forefront of the Thai organic movement). Or for local produce, the Thai Green Market network held every Thursday at Regent House Bldg. (Ratchadamri Rd. BTS Ratchadamri) and Aw Taw Kaw Market close to Chatuchak (a large farmers’ market with a wide organic selection). Finally, there are a number of shops and restaurants including Lemon Farm (who have developed their own labeling system), May Kai Dee’s in the Khao San area and the recently opened Urban Tree on Samsen Road.

What do you mean by “Whole Foods?”

Whole foods are typically foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. This means foods that do not contain added ingredients, such as sugar, salt, or fat. Examples of whole foods include unpolished grains, fruits and vegetables, and non-homogenized milk. In the case of non-vegetarian food, this includes unprocessed meat, poultry, and fish.

Birds in a Row offers Mediterranean-influenced cuisine that is healthy, is primarily based on whole and unprocessed grains, is sourced locally and uses organic produce wherever possible. Equally importantly, we see a need to make this type of food delicious and attractive. Joke, who is the cook, puts great emphasis on detail and the ‘food styling’ aspect of his meals—he really loves preparing flavorful vegetarian dishes. Freshness and quality are non-negotiables for us.

For further details, please contact:

Birds in a Row– Whole Food Catering and Delivery Service

For multiple orders and catering (15-50 people) Birds in a Row is able to deliver and offer catering services outside of the Rattanakosin area.

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