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  1. #1
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    Best Thai Kitchen design?

    Looking at Wimpy's thread on building a small house in the country led me to think about what members would consider to be a great Thai Kitchen design.

    We all probably know what we would consider to be a great western kitchen design, what about what is generally called a Thai kitchen?

    With all you chefs out there knocking up great meals, maybe in your western kitchen, do you have any tips to ensure a budding builder considers all the important aspects when placing, arranging and fitting out a Thai Kitchen.

    Contributions from your MILS, wives or GF's would of course be very welcome.

    Let me give you some examples of Thai kitchens I have experienced.

    1. A 3 room apartment and balcony. The balcony, 2m x 5m, was the "kitchen", laundry and outside sitting area. This had a storage unit, food, pots and plates, a space for food prep, a large electric frying/cooking pan, a large wooden block, a washing bowl and a cold tap, and lastly a couple of low chairs. Clothes after laundering were dried on long lines hung between the buildings. Not a great deal of space but a bit of a view and "fresh" air.

    2. A communal paved area outside the downstairs apartment community store. Any tenant that wished could utilise the area to prepare food, many combined and meals were produced on a conveyor system with people returning from work and cooking food which was shared amongst us all. It was also the meeting place to gossip, drink, gamble and fool around in. Engagements were announced, phone calls to "uncles" in Europe were made, plans for outings discussed.

    An area with the obligatory stone tables and benches, a large community Buddha shine, kept in immaculate state by one of the female tenants, a community one gas burner, a community pots and plates storage area, a community food prep wooden block. The store seemed to be full of convenience snacks, beer/whisky, two large fridges and cigarettes. Many trips down to the adjoining soi if more supplies, out of stock food, specialised cooking utensils like fish broilers, the large dish for cooking soup and grilling meat - like a large grapefruit squeezer, were necessary were undertaken on one of the many motorcycles.

    During the last airport closure up to twenty out of province policemen were billeted in the block who returned at all hours and paid some of the ladies to prepare meals and offer "services", it seems. Initially very spooky but they soon became part of the family and as some could speak English were open about what they were up to and had no qualms about showing off their pistols, to the men, and injuries, to the ladies etc.

    3. A village house with an upstairs sleeping area. Downstairs was large room where guests slept, along with household stores - food, fridge etc, a one room bathroom, shower, squat toilet and an open water tank. The kitchen area was open with a charcoal cooking pot, low tables with dried food, rice cooker, water heater. A large wooden food prep block. the open floor was utilised during the day for sitting and an work that was required, Laundry and pots and pans were performed in a large bowl with the finished grey water poured through a hole in the wall to the yard outside. . At mealtime floor mats were laid and a communal meal for the family plus variuos locals was had, important men first, other men second, children third and women who probably had been snacking for hours last. Alongside the kitchen area was a relaxation area with low tables to sit or sprawl on, a few rickety chairs and hammocks.

    All the above were very basic in comparison to western kitchens in terms of facilities but, other than the apartment balcony, were able to produce meals and feed anything from half a dozen to 30+ meals. During one event many of the neighbouring wives and girls mucked in to produce a meal for 50 plus 4 or 5 Monks. No knives drawn just consistent chatter along with cutting, slicing and cooking. The men had spent the day building a section of wall at the local temple, building a bamboo shrine complete with every bit of gaudy decoration the ladies could rustle up but mainly drinking whisky.
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  2. #2
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    We have both Western and Thai, the western is in the main house and is a big room that facilitates all modern equipment, dining and lounging. The Thai kitchen is just off the western kitchen it is galley style and can be shut off so that the choking smell of chillies can escape safely. It also leads upto the terrace for snacking upstairs, it has a simple gas hob, utencils, wok and small fridge. That is once we get to doing those things. It will also contain the washing machine, so i suppose the Thai kitchen is the Utility, which seems to be the norm here. counter space for prep then cook simples.
    im hot its so hot today.......milk was a bad choice!

  3. #3
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    We have an indoor Western and an outdoor Thai kitchen, too. The Western kitchen includes oven, microwave and the refrigerators.
    The outdoor Thai kitchen has a built-in BBQ, a gas and an induction hob and now also a dishwasher.

    The indoor kitchen is seldom used, only when it is raining too heavy or when we have a lot of guest.

    In a future house I would only built one kitchen and perhaps one small "breakfast kitchen" for my stuff.

    My ideas, having a large Thai family:

    • Good ventilation with good rain protection
    • A lot of preparation space: With guest there are up to 5 Thai women cooking together.
    • Invest in drawers: The common Thai style with doors is not very comfortable to use.
    • Open shelves for the pans.
    • Easy to clean and sturdy surfaces: Many Thais don't know how to clean Western style kitchens. Many Thais love to modern shiny Western style, but they have problems to care them, even the granite counter tops. I personally prefer stainless steel.
    • Avoid gaps and seams, because they are not easy to clean. I prefer separate modules (tables) if the craftsmen cannot make a large piece.
    • Both electric and gas hobs. My Thai family loves cooking with the induction hob because it is as fast as gas.
    • Large refrigerator(s): If possible, a separate fridge for the "personal" western food.

  4. #4
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    Both of you have put ventilation as a high priority. Are your Thai kitchens under the main house or are they separate.

    I would have though a separate situation would ensure better ventilation but maybe convenience is lost.

    You mention a dishwasher, do you also have a sink in the Thai kitchen.

    I am presuming that the Thai kitchen is open to the surrounding areas, do you have any security worries?

  5. #5
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    Thai women like outdoor kitchens so their garbage can be flung over the shoulder, compost style, rather than carried to a garbage bucket. It's genetic. Their DNA also requires a lingering, wafting stench that is only attained by an unfiltered sewer drain. It's easy to achieve. Almost anyone can do it.
    Last edited by Panty Hamster; 23-06-2012 at 10:01 PM.

  6. #6
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    To start with there seems to be no Thai kitchen designs as such. They are usually outdoors and random collection of equipment located in random.

    For condos the developers often offer free kitchen which is usually couple of cabinets in the corner and designed to look good but utterly useless as kitchen.

    Even farang style kitchens are usually messed up in design. Go to a big place like Boontaworn in Bangkok and use one of their "professional" design services for expensive european brands and you soon find out that they are clueless even in very basic kitched design for functionality (location of fridge, sink and stove compared to each other with counter space) not to mention they have no clue on counter top heights of cabinet heights etc. So end result is something unusable or not functional unless you know the basics yourself and tell them where to locate the main items and give them the heights etc.

    Even then you are in the mercy of the installers, our kitchen was done three times to get it roughly right (as ordered and designed) and all build in furniture from Index was done twice to get it right.

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    One thing I am gonna do OO will be in both our kitchens I will build a lockable cage outside the kitchen to keep the gas bottle in, and turn it off outside when we are finished with it.

    There has been a lot of interesting info coming out about gas in the house here lately and it don't make for good reading.

    Another consideration for me in our kitchen will be if possible an area for a nice 2 door American style fridge freezer, I'm not a lover of the plastic bag/ stick keep the fliesawayallday thingy used in the markets , so I will need to store some edible meat in the freezer from the supermarket also plenty of room for fruit juice and coke
    I'm proud of my 38" waist , also proud I have never done drugs

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo
    Even farang style kitchens are usually messed up in design. Go to a big place like Boontaworn in Bangkok and use one of their "professional" design services for expensive european brands and you soon find out that they are clueless even in very basic kitched design for functionality (location of fridge, sink and stove compared to each other with counter space) not to mention they have no clue on counter top heights of cabinet heights etc. So end result is something unusable or not functional unless you know the basics yourself and tell them where to locate the main items and give them the heights etc.
    To be fair mate they are Thais and don't live like us in the west.

    Its not too hard to measure up yourself and plan what you want , knock it up and fit yourself ,, thats what I shall do for sure , and always willing to help anyone in the area

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo
    they have no clue on counter top heights of cabinet heights etc.
    Possibly for the average Thai they are the correct height?


    Quote Originally Posted by nigelandjan
    a nice 2 door American style fridge freezer,
    This will be within a lockable room or will it be left outside?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh
    This will be within a lockable room or will it be left outside?

    With the ilk of you and that Kwang chappie my chilled bean sprouts will be safely under lock + key thanks

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nigelandjan
    my chilled bean sprouts
    Ah the old "Thai chilled bean sprout" gambit. I reply with the Blackburne Shilling Gambit

  12. #12
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    you can reply with what you want mate ,, you'll always be welcome

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    Quote Originally Posted by nigelandjan View Post

    To be fair mate they are Thais and don't live like us in the west.

    Its not too hard to measure up yourself and plan what you want , knock it up and fit yourself ,, thats what I shall do for sure , and always willing to help anyone in the area
    Actually i was talking about Thais designing kitchens to Thais as much as my own kitchen. Quite large chunk of Thais do not live in rice farming village nowadays and do fit western style kitchen with western style cabinets. Even in houses and condos 100% at least in Bangkok.

    There is quite a lot in kitchen design to make it functional and ergonomic and that's not just heights and layout in general. All to do how you "work" in your kitchen so where to locate the main equipment and where and how much to allocate counter space to be able to work efficiently it to be convenient. And trust me, it makes a big difference even in your normal home if you get the basics right.

    For my own case both, build in furniture and kitchen guys did it to my design as their own were just useless. Most of them not even possible to open all the doors and drawers etc.

    Both came down and took the measurements themselves, with me pointing out the levels in the actual location. Still the kitchen counter was around 15 cm too high, too high even for 2m tall farang like myself. So again nothing to do with being Thai, all to do being incompetent. Unfortunately i work so could not do it myself or supervise them all the time.

  14. #14
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    ^ Well I have read your reply mate and I still beg to differ.

    You see the point I was making is the basic concept they have from where they come from in their background , things like western cabinet style kitchens + general neat + tidy finishes to work is way down on the list of lives priorities to them .

    BTW I work full time about 54 hours per week and over the years have managed to fit / build 6 kitchens over the years , I know its not for everyone , but personally if I want a job doing to the finish I want and I can do it I do .


    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo
    And trust me, it makes a big difference even in your normal home if you get the basics right.
    agree 100% mate

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo
    So again nothing to do with being Thai, all to do being incompetent.
    I think you will find the two go nicely together

  15. #15
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    This thread would work better with pictures.

    Homepro:



    Homepro (development test)[0]=13&Itemid=63&lang=en

    A Thai kitchen, for a country house anyways, needs to be kinda inside and kinda outside with cover. The tricky part is how to seamlessly link the two areas.
    How do I post these pictures???

  16. #16
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    ^ Yeah thats what it looks like in Homepro Betty ,, whether after the Thais have carted it off in their pickups and stopped for a bowl of noodles + a bowl of the old Lao Khao on the way it looks like that in your home is another matter

  17. #17
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    ^ would you want it to look like that? I'm not too keen on that style, I've yet to decide upon a contemporary dual area Thai design.

  18. #18
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    I built a home for my mother in law in Issan.
    Designed it all myself and spent extra time on the kitchen.
    Had the sink near the best window, (figured she could easily feed the chickens without moving too far when washing dishes), kept the height of counters low, even included a bar area to divide to the next room.
    2 years later, the counter top is filled with water bottles (about 300 of them) as is the bar (I can only assume they ran out of water once and swore it wouldn't happen again, even though I put in 6 of those huge 2,000 litre cement vase looking things). She has never used the gas stove and still prefers to cook outside, kneeling down in the mud and build a wood fire complete with smoke and of course the rubber used to start it.
    I don't think you can change em. Just put a roof over the mud pit and call it a kitchen. (chicken shit and all)

  19. #19
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    I wouldn't mate ,, what a poxy design ,, what a waste of money look at that useless low unit in the middle like a coffee table on steroids + the fact the base units have different doors completely to the wall units .

    Just look at the height of the second row of wall units !

  20. #20
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    ^ yes, it's shite.

    ^^ yes, they're shite.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nigelandjan View Post
    ^ Well I have read your reply mate and I still beg to differ.

    You see the point I was making is the basic concept they have from where they come from in their background , things like western cabinet style kitchens + general neat + tidy finishes to work is way down on the list of lives priorities to them .

    BTW I work full time about 54 hours per week and over the years have managed to fit / build 6 kitchens over the years , I know its not for everyone , but personally if I want a job doing to the finish I want and I can do it I do .


    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo
    And trust me, it makes a big difference even in your normal home if you get the basics right.
    agree 100% mate

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo
    So again nothing to do with being Thai, all to do being incompetent.
    I think you will find the two go nicely together

    Not really, i see lot of decent stuff quality and finishing wise all around. Even mine came out nice enough after they realized they are not getting paid until they get it right. Again i wouldn't mix up isaan rice farmer carpenters with pro's around Bangkok.

    Doing only 54 hrs a week it'd be easy. In my case i've been last 12 years or so in a six day contract with minimum 58 hrs required so no probs there either but as it happened i was over in Harare at the time and family needed a kitchen

  22. #22
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    I'm in the running for a kitchen too, a western kitchen on the inside and a BBQ kitchen outside. About a year ago I bought all the appliances at Thai wattado? as they were on sale and got a decent discount if I bought the lot and I did, oven, microwave, steamer, espresso machine, 5 burner stove, 2 burner, fryer. Now have all the appliances sit in the old house, waiting for my new house to be build. late December last year when in Pattaya I went into one of those western kitchen builders and asked for a model to be drawn of my kitchen, explained what I wanted and for a 1000 baht they would draw something, yes something was what I eventually got, not much and with a price of almost 400,000 baht, I'll have a look around, thank you.

    A few months ago went to Bangna Bangkok to have a look at IKEA, they do kitchens too and have a huge range of all kinds of cupboards and ideas to do the insides of those cupboards. The drawers are self closing, guarantee for 10-25 years. Comes in flat packs, just install yourself or with the help of a few Thai, if you have no fiends, IKEA can do the install for you, they even can deliver.

    I'm going for the IKEA kitchen, would be 1/3 of the price the Pattaya kitchen builder quoted and many more options, you can make it as big or small as you want.

    Outside I will just have a BBQ kitchen with a descent Aussie type 4 burner BBQ and a pizza oven, all gas.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by juehoe View Post
    We have an indoor Western and an outdoor Thai kitchen, too. The Western kitchen includes oven, microwave and the refrigerators.
    The outdoor Thai kitchen has a built-in BBQ, a gas and an induction hob and now also a dishwasher.

    The indoor kitchen is seldom used, only when it is raining too heavy or when we have a lot of guest.

    In a future house I would only built one kitchen and perhaps one small "breakfast kitchen" for my stuff.

    My ideas, having a large Thai family:

    • Good ventilation with good rain protection
    • A lot of preparation space: With guest there are up to 5 Thai women cooking together.
    • Invest in drawers: The common Thai style with doors is not very comfortable to use.
    • Open shelves for the pans.
    • Easy to clean and sturdy surfaces: Many Thais don't know how to clean Western style kitchens. Many Thais love to modern shiny Western style, but they have problems to care them, even the granite counter tops. I personally prefer stainless steel.
    • Avoid gaps and seams, because they are not easy to clean. I prefer separate modules (tables) if the craftsmen cannot make a large piece.
    • Both electric and gas hobs. My Thai family loves cooking with the induction hob because it is as fast as gas.
    • Large refrigerator(s): If possible, a separate fridge for the "personal" western food.
    Many good replies by all, but the above reply covers it well
    After years of observation, I had to rethink the western kitchen design for my new build
    I am eliminating it, and turning the space to living space,
    The kitchen will be in the downstairs area under the house,with role down windows in case of heavy rain and wind, and for securing the area when we are not there.
    Implementing all the ideas expressed injuehoe's post,
    strictly utilitarian
    keeping cabinet and counter space to Thai height, and easy to clean.
    All I want from the kitchen is food, it does not need to be a piece of art.
    The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

  24. #24
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    I work at home



    Good address, With good fishing




    A selection of bed warmers



    Something for the weekend.


  25. #25
    FarangRed
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    Is this good enough? Thai kitchen just fuk them off dont even let them in your house or if you to just give them a bottle of gas outside on a tiled worktop with a sink, they never wash anything only in cold water never put anything away leave it all pilled up outside

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