That’s certainly the case on South Wall Road, where shops contain both Thai Buddhist and Chinese-style altars. “Both serve the same purpose, so why stick to just one?” says the clerk at , which sells gold Buddhas, miniature statues of Ganesh and other religious icons. Instead of the usual oranges you find elsewhere in Hong Kong, the offerings placed in front of the altars here are more colourful: bright orange bottles of Fanta and rainbow-hued Thai sweets.
For dessert, walk a couple of blocks to South Wall Road, where a number of shops stack colourful treats known as khanom wan on styrofoam trays. Some are made from layers of coconut cream and jelly, while others are based around sticky rice. Pandan is a common ingredient; beguiling and fragrant, its flavour is almost impossible to describe. You can find it in pandan cake, which has exactly nine layers — nine being a lucky number in both Thai and Chinese cultures.
Just down the street, imports fresh orchids, jasmine and carnations every week to turn into colourful garlands for people to hang on their altars at home. They bring in many more things as well: globe-shaped green aubergines, bird’s eye chillies, common Thai herbs like basil and dill, and fruits like the puckeringly sour mafai, or Burmese grape. “We sell fruits that even Chinese people don’t like to eat,” boasts one vendor.
Many of the street’s grocery stores sell curry paste for you to take home and cook with. You can even get plastic bags full of ready-made curry you can simply heat up and serve with rice. It’s a bit of Little Thailand you can take home with you.
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