My wife and I are not big shoppers – unless it’s for food! We love to shop for fresh ingredients, the best street food carts in Bangkok, or the best authentic Thai food restaurants we can find in Thailand. One place we love to go for cooking ingredients and fresh food is the Paragon Department Store Gourmet Market on the ground floor of the Siam Paragon Department Store in Bangkok.
My wife, Bua, and I are not flashy people. I grew up in the countryside in the States. Bua grew up on a farm in northeastern Thailand, in the Isaan region. I’m not into fancy clothes, and she’s not into jewelry. Neither one of us want a Mercedes. We both think a good farm truck, another motorcycle, or, OK, that dream sailboat, would be much better.
When I do spend money, it’s on computer and photography gadgets, vacations, food and beverages. When my wife spends money, it’s on plants for our farm – trees, vegetables, orchids, flowers, etc., a few clothes, vacations, food and beverages. You can see how we connect.
Today, when I sat down to write a blog post, Bua told me, “You should write a post about how I L-O-V-E the Paragon Gourmet Market!” (Can you hear the emphasis? There is true affection there!)
Why go to Paragon Supermarket in Bangkok when all over Thailand you can find fresh markets with wonderful fresh Thai food for very little money? It’s because Paragon Supermarket has everything! Fresh vegetables, fish, meat, Thai sauces and spices, and foreign food – aisles and aisles of high quality international food. It’s like a trip overseas, right there in Bangkok. It’s a feast for the eyes, and even better, for the palate once you get home.
We seldom go to the Siam Paragon shopping mall to shop. It’s fine and all, but most of the stores there aren’t really our style. When we do go there, it’s usually to go to the AIS shop, our mobile phone carrier, or the Nokia, Apple and electronic stores there.
We do enjoy looking at the luxury cars on display on the mezzanine, but both of us end up saying something like, “It’s gorgeous, but where would you put the trees, dirt or lumber?” (You can take the farmers out of the country, but…)
We do go to Paragon for food, though, and to the wander around the food aisles checking out the amazing variety of food.
The fresh and preserved meats sections rival overseas markets. We bought some smoked duck sausage there the other day that was fabulous.
There is an aisle of Japanese food full of the same brands we cook with when we stay in Osaka. There is a wide variety of Korean and European food, too. (I must admit, the “sashimi” quality fish we’ve bought there in the past was a far cry from sashimi in Japan, but that is to be expected, I guess.)
Are you looking for Thai curry paste? The best Thai curry paste is made at home, of course (check back for future posts here on how to make it), or bought in some fresh markets (but not all). Still, if you are looking for packaged Thai curry paste, you can find our favorite packaged brand, Nam Jai, in the Paragon Gourmet Market. It’s on a spinning rack near the preserved meats section.
Another favorite, check out their large selection of dried fruit. They are the best we’ve found anywhere. Our favorite is the dried mango. Not too sweet, lots of flavor, excellent.
The selection of packaged cookies and chocolate bars is great for quality road snacks, and the fresh bakery there is very good, too.
If you’ve shopped till you dropped, which is easy enough to do in Paragon – even in the Gourmet Market alone, and you are hungry, there is also an extensive international food court full of cooked to order food from all over Asia also on the ground floor, just outside of the check stands. It’s good fast food.
If you are looking for a huge selection of quality Thai and international food in Bangkok, check out the Paragon Gourmet Market in the basement of the Paragon Department Store in Siam.
Paragon is right next to the BTS Skytrain Siam station. You’ll see it. Waterfalls, fountains, glitz, luxury brand banners, the works, line the towering outside wall of the Shopping Center. If you get out of the Skytrain and only see old city buildings from the station, go to the other side. You can’t miss it. It looks like something you’d expect to see on 5th Avenue in New York, or maybe in an amusement park! There is an exit from the BTS Skytrain that takes you right to the main entrance.
Have you been to the Paragon Gourmet Market in Bangkok? What was your impression? Where are your favorite places to buy food in Thailand? Leave a comment below.
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