At Feast Thailand, we often like to focus our attention on local ‘food heroes’. This time, we focus on a remarkable success story as we shine a spotlight on Baan Rak & the Cassia and see what it has taken to get them this far. Recently, Feast Thailand spent some time with Khun Roongy from Baan Rak & the Cassia and asked her some questions.
How did you start Baan Rak and the Cassia?
We moved to this current location 5 years ago. There was absolutely nothing here when we arrived. My husband and I built the house on family land and I wanted to start a business - something around food. It had to be tasty and affordable, yet different to anything already available in Hua Hin. Hua Hin attracts many Thai tourists, so the business needed to serve food both interesting and tasty for that customer, but also affordable to the Thai person living in Hua Hin.
I do want international travellers and expats to be able to taste my food as well, so the healthy option has always been a focus. That is where our version of a Chinese classic began.
Originally, we started selling just out the front of our house, then we needed to get our product to the people so we started wholesaling out Gui Chai. It was when a Bangkok television show filmed us that we we started to get really popular, as that went right across the nation.
How did the expansion come about?
We wanted to give our customers a taste of street food, but also some great breakfast options. That was the reason we commenced building the cafe in front. My husband is really into coffee, so we have also invested in a top quality coffee machine to give all our customers a great cup of coffee - hot or cold. We are experimenting with coffee blends as well, so that we can offer the best coffee in Hua Hin.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.JRR Tolkien
Is your background in food?
Actually, I worked in hotels for 10 years while I was studying. I was always around food and the hospitality industry. I always cooked when I was younger and as a teenager, I went to the US to study. I saw how they baked pies and other pastries, so I learned to bake; I really enjoyed it.
How did it come about that you changed your name from Baan Rak Gui Chai to Baan Rak and the Cassia?
There is a beautiful cassia tree in the front garden. The name change is simply to pay tribute to this beautiful tree.
We are simply amazed at the quality and volume of Gui Chai you are able to output from such a small kitchen. How do you do it?
Yes, we operate in a very small kitchen to deliver these tasty morsels. We have up to 3 people working in there, but everyone has their job and they do it fantastically. We follow strict food hygiene practices. For us, it's about food integrity and I believe it makes a difference in the final taste. Our products also sell at Golden Place which has very strict standards, so our kitchen and products had to be inspected and passed before we were allowed to sell our products there. We want our products known as being of the best quality, with consistency in flavour.
You have travelled extensively. How has this helped shape your outlook on what you now do?
Traveling abroad opens your eyes to new and interesting trends. Looking at the cultures in other countries is always the best part. It just gives you an opportunity to re-evaluate what we do here in Thailand and potentially refresh our focuses.
You can experience some of the best that Baan Rak & the Cassia has to offer on Feast Thailand's Eat Like A Local Tour, which operates daily.
Baan Rak & the Cassia
Hua Hin Soi 94, Maekeb 2,
Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110
Tel: 081 805 3130
Open: 9am – 7pm Everyday