In the world of Thai entertainment, a swift surprise was taken to the small screen on February 21, 2018. This phenomena was a romance-comedy-time travel drama based on an enchanting original script by renowned Thai novelist, Chanyawee Sompreeda, better known by her pen name, Rompaeng. The reception was almost instantaneous – the drama went viral almost immediately after its premiere.
Such was the popularity of the drama that it was later reimagined into a spin-off film, released on the 28th of July of the following year. The drama wasn’t ready to rest just yet, as the first episode of its sequel made it to the airwaves on a fine Wednesday, the 18th of October.
While the drama boasts an intriguing mix of humor and romance in its storyline, it’s quite remarkable how it has stimulated interest beyond its plot. It has brought attention to the culinary delights that grace its scenes, particularly the different types of Thai sweets. The sweets, introduced by notable figure, Maria Guyomar de Pina – or Thao Thong Kip Ma, have stirred quite the interest among viewers.
Maria Guyomar de Pina, a 17th century Siamese woman of mixed Japanese, Portuguese, and Bengali ancestry, resided in Ayutthaya and worked as a cook within the palace during the reign of King Narai. She brought many exquisite desserts to Siamese cuisine, such as Khanom Mo Kaeng, Thong Muan, Thong Yot, Thong Yip, Foi Thong, Sangkaya, and Khanom Phing.
In an effort to maintain these mouthwatering Thai desserts, Mali Pakaporn, an octogenarian Ayutthaya resident and a descendant of Maria Guyomar, has established a community enterprise in the Mueang district.
However, even with such rich culinary history and delicious offerings, the export of Thai sweets currently stands surprisingly low, making up a meager 6% of overall exports, a statistic that pales in comparison to other countries.
As of the first eight months of this year, sugar and confectionery exports around the globe have reached a total of 123 billion Baht, as reported by the Commerce Ministry’s Office of the Permanent Secretary. The leading sugar and confectionery exporters are Indonesia (32.53 billion Baht), China (21.47 billion Baht), the Philippines (12.40 billion Baht), South Korea (11.38 billion Baht), and Malaysia (8.92 billion Baht).
Despite these figures, Sukhum Chaleysub, director of the Suan Dusit Poll, holds the belief that Thailand has the potential to promote its confectionery on a global scale. He suggests that government bodies can push this promotion by aligning Thai sweets with culture, leveraging technology to prolong their shelf life, incorporating them into learning courses and providing entrepreneur support for further development.