We’re Able to Purchase All Our Groceries from Mark – Slog

Were Ready to Buy All Our Groceries from Mark

That is Mark carrying Mark standing in entrance of Mark. MVH

I’m just a little ashamed that it took me this lengthy to go to the brand new gentle rail station within the U District, my outdated neighborhood of just about a decade. Lord, who knew I’d stay lengthy sufficient to see it accomplished.


After I surfaced from the stomach of the subway, I took a deep breath, standing on the entrance for a minute. I stared at Cedars of Lebanon and the classic neon Flowers signal and the carved hunky punks on the Ugly Mug constructing, marveling at this contemporary, up to date image body across the acquainted view.

After which I questioned, Is {that a} new Thai place subsequent to Cedars? I could not bear in mind what was once there. It’d all been behind a development barrier for thus lengthy. I observed the slick Thai script on the facade, took a few images, and observed the proprietor noticing me taking snaps. I guessed I might higher go inside.




It was “Uncle” Mark Pinkaow from Thai Curry Simple within the ID, immediately recognizable from behind his masks. Possibly everyone else is aware of that he’d arrange store right here on forty third and Brooklyn a pair years in the past, however I’d had no concept, man.

Mark informed me he began out on this spot as Wann Yen, promoting Thai-style shaved ice—not “shave ice,” that’s Hawaiian—and different desserts, and he miraculously weathered each the UW-student-free first yr of the pandemic AND the years of sunshine rail development. He’s lately rebranded as Mark Thai Food Box, now promoting desserts plus all of the classics from Thai Curry Easy as packaged dinners, filled with the microwavable cellophane on prime, for ten bucks every. You may organize them sizzling as properly, with an choice to eat within the tiny store or outdoors on the pastel picnic tables on forty third, provided by the U District Partnership. A caricature of Mark’s face plasters nearly every part within the store, from the road facade to the reheating directions for the meals to the T-shirt he was carrying.

And fuck yeah, I believed—after all I need a pork panang curry with jasmine rice that I can simply stick in my bag, proper now, to eat at midnight once I’m drunk. I imply, uh, if I am drunk. You by no means know.

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Mark’s obtained a mini-general retailer of types arrange, too, with fermented kumquat and mango cups and bottled pad thai sauce and curry paste and selfmade sizzling sauce. Drinks embrace Thai espresso and tea, palm juice, and passionfruit milk, amongst others. Together with the curry field, I walked away with a jar of floor pork in chili oil, a factor of spicy, lemongrassy khua kling sauce, and a water bottle that includes Mark’s face. I used to be again two days later for extra pork panang, a rose milk tea, and a shrimp pad see ew field to go. This time, I noticed that they’ve dessert rotis AND khao mun gai with winter melon soup, and I’m severely going again for that shit, like, tomorrow.

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Uncle Mark’s an animated dude, and we had a stunning impromptu chat—I knew him however he didn’t know me, however he didn’t care. The story is that he’s not affiliated with the unique Thai Curry Easy at Fifth South and Jackson anymore; he offered it to a former worker who was working it for some time, however there was a fire in the space last year, and TCS is at present on indefinite hiatus. So, fortunate us, that we will nonetheless get the identical attractive meals simply throughout city.

Mark and his spouse, Picha, are from Bangkok and owned a couple of eating places in New York Metropolis earlier than transferring to Seattle in 2009. “However Seattle is our dwelling now,” he informed me. “We get regulars coming in all day. No one is a stranger to me!” Evidently, since about half the shoppers who got here in known as him by his identify.

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Mark’s additionally very jazzed that the sunshine rail station is lastly open, that the development barrier is gone, and that contemporary new clients, like me, can truly spot his storefront and are available test it out.

Picha defined how they obtained the concept for the grab-and-go bins. “I ordered some microwave Thai meals on Amazon Go and it… wasn’t, uh, good. So I made a decision it is truly our accountability to make actual Thai meals that individuals can prepare dinner at dwelling, so that they have a alternative. They’ll attempt our stuff and the Amazon stuff and resolve which tastes higher.”

She mentioned they’re occupied with learn how to distribute the meals bins extra extensively, probably getting some refrigerated merchandising machines for dorms and hospitals, automat-style, with the little doorways that open. “So individuals can get our meals late at night time! Whereas finding out!”

Mark, in the meantime, is extra involved in regards to the meals itself and what goes in it. “My factor is about actual Thai meals. Individuals ask me, ‘Why do not you’ve got broccoli in your pad see ew?’ or ‘Why do not you set ketchup in your pad thai?’ and I am like ‘No! That is not Thai meals.’ I make it actual, and so I all the time say that when you can eat my meals right here, and then you definately go to Thailand, you will be no stranger to Thai meals. You’ll know what you might be doing. You’ll be okay.”

Mark and Picha have spent a whole lot of time feeding the hungry through the pandemic, visiting homeless camps at hand out the Thai meals bins. “I do not know what’s sooner or later, however it does not matter what occurs—you continue to gotta eat. So I’m ensuring my individuals in my group are nonetheless consuming. I’m figuring it out.”

The sunshine rail station makes the journey actual zippy, after all, however when you can’t make it out to the Ave, you should purchase these identical Thai meals bins with Uncle Mark’s head throughout them at Ken’s Market in Greenwood or Metropolis Market on the Hill.

However when you can, I like to recommend stopping by Mark Thai Meals Field in individual so you possibly can decide by means of all of the fascinating Thai ins and outs they’ve obtained on the market, possibly attempt one thing new, and have a chat with Mark and Picha. Each of them—in addition to the tiny store itself!—are a complete delight.



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