From pigs’ heads to duck, Bangkok shop offers Lunar New Year treats in jelly

Coconut milk jelly dessert cups in various shapes are displayed ahead of the Chinese new year at Namjai dessert shop in Bangkok, Jan 20, 2022. (Reuters photos)

As people get ready to celebrate the Lunar New Year, a dessert shop in Bangkok is doing a roaring trade by moulding coconut milk jelly into pigs heads, grilled duck, steamed chicken and other items often served in a traditional feast.

The Namjai dessert shop offers a 900-baht boxed set of nine items from a typical feast, winning over customers with the price and convenience of not having to prepare a big meal.

"For me, I live alone and I have to go and search for all the dishes like the pork, chicken and duck - there's a lot to buy and it's too hectic during this time (in the pandemic)," said Naree Boonyakiat, who feels the desserts will also photograph well.

Another customer, Thanabodee Phooncharoen, said the selection was festive, even if the items tasted "like any other typical coconut milk jelly".

Namjai's owner, Thanapach Montraprasit, said he has received an "overwhelming" number of enquiries through the store's social media pages since starting to offer the jellies this month.

On the store's LINE mobile messenger app alone there had been 400-500 enquiries, he said.

"I think that with a high cost of living now, pork and chicken meat is expensive, the prices have all gone up. So, people have taken more interest," he said.

As in many countries, the cost of living has been rising, with many food items getting more expensive.

Lunar New Year celebrations normally mean a jump in spending, but consumer expenditure over the period this year could hit an 11-year low after a new Covid-19 outbreak, a survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce showed.

Aside from appealing to cost-conscious buyers, Mr Thanapach said the desserts were also a good way to avoid having leftover food during the holiday period. 

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