Two Bangkok food scribes have a new project that puts the wet market experience within reach of your fingers.
Online shop Outstanding Market Goods, aka OMG, sells handcrafted products such as indigo-dyed farmers’ shirts and larb knives from Phrae province, as well as goods designed by founders Austin Bush and Christopher Wise.
For those who like to know something about what they’re buying, all products come with information about the places and people involved: how Ban Rong Fong once made the chains, metal shoes and other tack for elephants used by the teak trade, or how Mohom Ban PaLuang, a second-generation indigo dyer in Phrae, is one of few still using natural materials.
Bush and Wise, who share several decades of experience tracking down recipes, ingredients, and cooking goods from across Southeast Asia, said the project grew out of their Fantastic Food Search site as a response to the pandemic.
“We noticed that people were doing a lot of cooking from home and wanted to travel vicariously, so we had the idea to sell cooking- and kitchen-related products,” their message read.
Bush has written for Saveur, Taste and CNN Travel, often about regional food culture; worked on Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok cookbooks; and authored The Food of Northern Thailand. He now has another book in the works centered on southern Thai food. Wise, a cofounder of Bangkok bar-gallery WTF, has shot for Australian Gourmet Traveller, Conde Nast Traveler, Monocle and Travel+Leisure.
Everything on OMG is sourced from or made by local providers, who in some cases work seasonally, so products are limited and only available by preorder.
Currently, the two are designing batik napkins from Yala in southern Thailand and transforming the indigo-dyed farmer’s shirt into a light jacket. In the near future, they hope plan to expand their online marketplace to include items from other regions, villages and countries.
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