For the Love of All Things SWEET
It was love that made her quit her job and move. Before hitting her 30th birthday, former arts manager Celine Yeo packed her bags and headed to Bangkok to pursue her dream to be a pastry chef. Graduating tops of her Le Cordon Bleu class, she returned to Singapore and fearlessly opened 3 INCH SIN with her brother Kevin that now serves one of the most memorable chocolate fondant cake in a dozen flavors and her always in-demand Rrroyal Chocolate cake. Calling Bangkok her second home, Celine shares her love for “BKK” (as the locals call it) with us and her favorite haunts.
You lived in Bangkok for almost a year. What’s on your must-do list when you return for vacation?
I will always go to Chatuchak Market when I return to BKK for vacation. The market is huge and each time I return, I seem to uncover a different part of the market. It’s not only fun to shop there but I love the food and local snacks that enhance the overall experience. In that way, visiting the market is always a new experience each time.
Did your time in Bangkok influence any of your work at 3 INCH SIN?
The time spent in BKK influences me more indirectly. The creative energy you can feel there inspires me to constantly create new products for my café. I also try to create products with Thai flavors. Lemongrass is one of my favourite ingredients and I’ve been working on incorporating lemongrass into my cakes.
What’s a perfect day in Bangkok?
I love uncovering new parts of BKK and a perfect day for me would involve going to a different part of BKK that I haven’t seen. It could be going to one of the public libraries, visiting a new café or a new market that’s a little farther away from the city center. BKK offers a lot more than just the usual shopping. Uncovering new places helps me understand BKK a little better each time and that makes it a perfect day for me.
For us coffee-culture addicts, could you recommend a café in Bangkok?
I’ve got a few favorite cafes that I bring my friends to when we visit BKK. If I absolutely have to name one, it’d be Vanilla Garden Cafe tucked away on Ekamai Soi 12. The cafe serves up Japanese style pastry products and the best part about this cafe is the adjoining culinary and design bookstore. The bookstore carries a wide range of English and Thai language books relating to interior design, architecture, patisserie and culinary arts. It’s a great place to hang out with friends or just catch some alone time and read a book.
A food tour of Bangkok would include…
A visit to the wet market near Huai Kwang where a good range of local produce are sold in the morning. That’ll give an introduction to all the local ingredients used in Thai cuisine. And for dinner, eating through the main stretch of Yaowarat (Chinatown). From street snacks to freshly grilled seafood, Yaowarat offers something to suit every palate. For me, going to Chinatown with friends means a compulsory pit stop at the durian stall that serves up creamy, mutant-sized durians. The lady boss sits at the back of her lorry like a matriarch and the heap of durians behind her provides a dramatic backdrop for her makeshift stall.
Bangkok is always buzzing with new places and activities. Have you discovered anything recently?
During my last trip to BKK, I spent a lot of time in the Thong Lor area. While I used to hang out there, I’d always go to my usual spots for meals and massages. Recently, I discovered several quaint local pubs in the area that have live bands and serve up really great cocktails. Fat Gutz was one of them. Their cocktail concoctions are unique, with a creative use of unusual ingredients like Thai candy floss. The pub left a really deep impression and I can’t wait to return to my new favorite watering hole.
What’s a Thai phrase that always comes in handy?
I’d say ‘khop khun ka’, which means “Thank You”. Thai people are a really friendly lot and saying thanks whenever I receive a service from someone is my way of making them feel appreciated.
I love Bangkok because…
There is some much creative energy that pulsates through the city – from fashion to music and food, there is always something radical that peeks out at me. There is a strong sense of individualism amongst its people and I find that really charming.
3 INCH SIN website www.3inchsin.com
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