Taste Local Cuisine All in One Place at Nakhon Chum
Let’s take a gastronomic journey to Nakhon Chum community in Kamphaeng Phet province and experience an old-time atmosphere as well as learning about interesting cultures and traditions of this little community.
Nakhon Chum is a small town in Kamphaeng Phet province that is completely surrounded by mountain ranges. There are 8 villages in the town and the villagers are still living their simple lives from generations to generations. The majority of the villagers are farmers having rice paddy fields as their office and source of income. We used to overlook this small town yet its unique and charming cultures, people, tourist spots, and local dishes have eventually allured us to come to this place and experience it for ourselves. Read on and see what this lovely little town has to offer.
Nakhon Chum: A Living Historical Community
Nakhon Chum is a fertile land. In the early days, this small town was used to be a food storage and an assembly point for armies during a war between King Bang Klang Hao, a governor of Bang Yang (Nakorn Thai) and Khmer armies led by Khom Sabard Khlon Lampong. In Nakhon Chum archeological site, an ancient soldier camp was discovered together with a copious amount of porcelains and Sukhothai era’s ancient weapons. Since Nakhon Chum is surrounded by mountains, the town was once called “Nakhon Sum” as "Sum" in Thai means "hidden" before the name has been mispronounced to be "Nakhon Chum". Another legend also has it that the name of the town came from "Mueang Khon Chum" which means a "crowded town". During the years 1193 – 1195, a large number of Laotians from the north had migrated and settled in this area. The town was then established by two siblings "Khun Kang Hao" and "Khun Harn Hao" who later self-appointed to be Governors of the town and changed its name from "Mueang Khon Chum" to "Nakhon Chum" as being called nowadays.
Nakhon Chum Community Travel Route
There are several important places in Nakhon Chum such as a historical park registered in the World Heritage list and abundant natural resources. Nakhon Chum is also one of the tourism development areas under the Community Based Tourism Center which has helped educate the community members and prepare them to be able to manage the community tourism by themselves. Additionally, the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization) or DASTA has coordinated with the Tourism Center and Nakhon Chum community to provide assistance and support in creating the community travel route to these below places for visitors to better experience the uniqueness of Nakhon Chum.
Taking a stroll in Nakhon Chum’s old market is a very interesting activity for anyone who enjoys classic vibes and experiencing local ways of life and stories through simple conversations. When you enter the market, you will be greeted with smiles from local merchants dressed in traditional Thai outfits. All of Nakhon Chum’s must-try dishes can be found here, namely local-style Kaeng Khe Lek (Siamese cassia curry with pork rinds), elephant ear curry, Thai-style waffle, Khanom Dok Din (forest ghost flower steamed cake), and old-school ice cream. Every menu is made with original recipes so you can rest assured that you will get to taste an authentic deliciousness.
Photo NikomMaelao Production / Shutterstock.com
From the old market, walking across the river, you will find a 100-year-old traditional Thai house which once belonged to a merchant during the reign of King Rama V. Hence, it is called “Ban Hang Ror Ha” (Ror Ha means King Rama V) or "Ban Pa Po". In front of the house is a canal called "Suan Mak canal". Although this 2-story stilt house still remains, most of its wooden structures are already rotten. Thus, a signage "Do not enter the house" is placed for the visitors’ safety.
Wat Sawang Arom is located on the mouth of Suan Mak canal and was built in Burmese-Thai architectural style. The temple houses "Luang Por U Mong", the largest Buddha image in Kamphaeng Phet province which was built in Chiang Saen era. On the full moon day of the 4th lunar month, there will be an annual Buddhist festival to cover "Luang Por U Mong" in gold leaves which is one of the most important religious festivals of the province.
Wat Phra Borommathat Nakhon Chum is a symbolic historical structure of Nakhon Chum. A marvelous golden pagoda was built in Burmese architectural style and it is a must-visit location for the visitors when coming to Kamphaeng Phet province.
Wat Chedi Klang Tung is an ancient temple located in Aranyik subdistrict which is not known by many people. There is no evidence of the original name of the temple but this enormous pagoda or Chedi built in a lotus shape was found in the middle of a field; thus, the local people call it "Wat Chedi Klang Tung". The pagoda is believed to be constructed during the 18th – 19th Buddhist century when the Sukhothai Kingdom flourished.
Gastronomic Route of Nakhon Chum Community
Apart from the abundance of natural resources, Nakhon Chum community is also culturally unique, especially in local dishes. The community’s cuisine is created and influenced by local knowledge passing down from generations. Besides, the villagers have also learned to add values into their ordinary dishes and turn them into products of the community that earns them more incomes.
- Yan Ban Mai Market is the place where you can find all local and hard-to-find dishes. The interesting menus are Lao-style bite-sized appetizer, local style pork dumplings, Burmese-style peanut sausage, rice flour cendol soaked in sweetened coconut milk, etc.
- Taste the original 100-year-old egg noodle recipe from China at "Ar Pae Tueng". This dish is famous for its soft and chewy textures of the egg noodles which are made solely from egg yolks. The egg noodles go perfectly well with the rich and delectable pork broth.
- Roasted shredded coconut bite-sized appetizer is a local snack which its ingredients consisting of roasted shredded coconuts, peanuts, sugar, peeled garlic, and wild betel leaves. Put all the ingredients in a pan and stir-fry them until cooked and enjoy!
- Steamed mung bean filled sticky rice or "Khao Tom Tai" is a local savory snack. Every year, on the 15th day of the 10th waning moon is the Sart Thai Day. It is a festival where the local people give alms to the monks with "Khao Tom Tai".
- Local curry dishes of Nakhon Chum are also as flavorsome as other menus mentioned earlier. Kaeng Hin Lay (northern style pork curry), Kaeng Khe Lek (Siamese cassia curry with pork rinds), Kaeng Phan Ngoo (local style curry with Phan Ngoo plant), and Kaeng Tua Mahae (pigeon pea curry) are must-try curry dishes to complete your gastronomic journey in Nakhon Chum.
If you are a person who loves to explore local history, experience local ways of life and learn about original recipes through locally found ingredients, then Nakhon Chum community in Kamphaeng Phet province is the one fascinating destination waiting for you to discover.
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