7 distinctly Thai Christmas presents
With barely a week left till Christmas, it's crunch time. If you haven't yet picked up something special for all the important people in your life, check out this list of Thai-centric gifts.
Big fat coffee table book: 'Principles of Thai cookery'
You don't have to be a master chef to appreciate this book that goes back to the basics of Thai cuisine.
Written by celebrity Chef McDang, there are some great recipes in it but the real value is in the background, which focuses on what he believes to be the formative principles of Thai cuisine.
Referred to as the "encyclopedia of Thai cooking," this book encourages cooks to look beyond the recipes and get a real understanding of local flavors and techniques.
Available in Thai book stores or online at Amazon.com.
Eco-friendly home decor: Furniture by OSISU
OSISU produces functional art and furniture with a modern look that integrates local crafts and skilled carpentry with contemporary aesthetics.
Some items in the brand's furniture line feature construction site scraps, others, like the PMC line, are made with thermal-pressed cartons (juice/milk/sauce packaging materials).
18/18 Moo 3, Nontaburi 1 Road, Bangklasor, Nontaburi 11000. Tel: +66 (0)2 968 1900
Album of the year: 'The Sound of Siam'
Forget sickly sweet pop tunes and lusted after rock stars. What we want to see in our Christmas stocking is "The Sound of Siam: Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz and Molam from Thailand 1964-1975," a compilation of Thai folk music from the 1960s and 1970s produced by Bangkok-based DJ Chris Menist.
Incredibly catchy and upbeat, this celebration of northeastern tunes is already getting great reviews in the United Kingdom, where it was produced.
Fashion for him: Anything by Headquarter
Headquarter is a long-established fashion platform for three Thai designers -- Jirat Supisankul, Patsarun Sriluansoi and Chai Jeam-Amornrat -- to present their individual brands and identities as one.
A favorite among fashionable men, Headquarter’s easy-to-wear designs range from casual to formal. Great for the guy who wants to look stylish but with minimal fuss.
3/F, Siam Center, Rama 1 Road, BTS: Siam. Tel: +66 (0)2 658 1048
Fashion for her: Purse by Boyy Bagg
Taking the opposite route from most Thai designers, purse maven Wannasiri "Boyy" Kongman waited till she achieved success in the cutthroat New York City luxury fashion market before setting up her flagship Bangkok outlet at Central Chidlom earlier this year.
Boyy Bagg purses aren't cheap -- they start at 18,000 baht -- but they're the perfect gift for that fashionista who loves to live life on the cutting edge of style.
Alcoholic indulgence: A selection of Monsoon Valley wines
Leave the bottle of Sangsom for New Year's Eve and give that special someone a bottle of Thai wine instead.
The local vino has come a long way since its less-than-palatable beginnings, with today's local vineyards producing wines that are winning global fans and awards.
Particularly popular is Siam Winery’s Monsoon Valley line, available in most Bangkok supermarkets and wine shops.
Beautification: Erb gift set
"Erb," which basically means "radiant" in Thai, is a local brand of bath and beauty products that is now sold worldwide, made famous for using natural Thai ingredients like lemongrass and jasmine.
Available in high end Bangkok shopping malls like Central Chidlom, Emporium, Gaysorn and Siam Paragon, Erb's retail salespeople are super skilled at whipping up a beautiful gift set that you can custom-design to include everything from their "seven pollen face mask" to their delicious herbal Thai teas. Make sure to ask for a sample.