Siam Paragon is such an enormous shopping center that there are many corners I doubt I have ever seen. Today, on the way to check out the Beard Papa stand, Bordeaux and I stumbled upon Spice Story, a colorful shop tucked away on the ground floor near the Food Hall. It appeared almost unreal- an invitingly perfumed spice merchant, appearing out of place in the air-conditioned uniformity of the shopping mall. The shop front was decorated in a bold mix of lurid reds and purples, with glowing silk lanterns hanging in front of saturated paintings. Inside, under photos of Chinatown spice shops, baskets were heaped with bags, and shelves were lined with glass bottles, all filled with an amazing range of spices. Flavors on offer were both local (dried lemongrass, galangal, holy basil) and exotic (Chinese five spice, wolfberry, curry leaves, mustard seed). And somewhat surprisingly, the prices were drastically cheaper than at any Bangkok supermarkets.
As an added bonus, this shop featured a small cafe, which had an ice cream counter. They had only a few flavors, but each one was intriguing: chili, cardamom, ginger milk tea, lemon grass, green tea poppy, cinnamon and orange, and black pepper. According to a posted sign, each ice cream has its own curative properties, covering such ills as stress, fever, and stomach pain. We ordered two scoops to share, deciding that cardamom and chili would go best together, and sat down at one of the tables inside the store. The couple sitting next to us were enjoying lunch, which appeared to feature a mix of dim sum and one-pot dishes. It looked delicious, and gave off a strong, exotic fragrance. The waitress brought our ice cream in two glass bowls. The cardamom sorbet had an intriguingly citric sweetness that lingered after the first note of cardamom faded, making for a nicely refreshing dish. Served with a dash of chili powder on top, the chili ice cream was intensely creamy, with a rich milk flavor that faded into a sharp chili after-bite. We enjoyed both, and I'll likely be returning to sample more- if I'm able to find it again.