4 Asian Urban Gardens
The city-center gardens offer urbanites a window into the joys of farming. MONSICHA HOONSUWAN tours chicken coops and vegetable patches in some of Asia's biggest metropolises.
Published on Jan 15, 2016
1. ROOT GARDEN
The organic vegetable plot, chicken coop, rice paddy and mushroom hut offer a rare splash of green amid Thonglor's pricey gastropubs. Eakdanai Wongwattana runs this community service project, with support from local non-profits, to educate the public about agriculture. Here you can plant your own veggies, buy produce—or take it home for free, payment is optional— or attend a workshop on how to start an herb garden, but go now, before the pop-up ends in March 2016. Thonglor Soi 3; +66 99 396 4526; free workshops every second and fourth Sunday of the month.
Root Garden, splash of green amid Thonglor area. Monsicha Hoonsuwan.
2. SIAM GREEN SKY
At Siam Square One shopping mall, you'll find Thailand's largest rooftop garden fanning 2,000 square meters. This maze of vegetables, salad greens, flowers and herbslowers the temperature in the mall below by four degrees celcius, decreasing the building's energy use. Visit on the third Saturday of the month when you can try your hand at planting before refueling with wholesome snacks at their farmers' market. facebook.com/siamgreensky; free tours three times every Wednesday and Saturday, free workshops and farmers' markets on the third Saturday of every month.
Siam Green Sky, a largest rooftop garden. Courtesy of Siam Square One.
3. OPEN FARM COMMUNITY
Tippling Club's chef Ryan Clift has turned a former golf range into an orchard complete with roaming chickens and quails, as well as the country's first lawn-bowling lanes, only a 10-minutes drive away from Orchard Road. Tour the estate, then stop by his restaurant for a lunch of seasonal dishes like pasta made with whatever is blooming in his garden. 130 E. Minden Rd.; +65 6474 5964.
Pasona building's façade is overgrown with small shrubs, while the interior is spruced up in a blossoming tangle of 200 kinds of vegetation from rice to radishes. Take a 30-minute tour and you'll get access to their Eco Love Café for hot coffee and homemade products from their farm in Awaji—like the basil bagna càuda—to go. free tours on weekdays from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., reservations needed for a group of 10 or more.
Pasona building. Courtesy of Pasona.
Organic farmers are fueling culinary creations at two of Hong Kong's best hotels with their fresh, sustainably grown produce. A husband-and-wife team, Yuk Chi Lam and Betty Lam have dedicated their retirement to growing organic greens for family consumption, and now they're sharing extras with their community. Their work has caught the eye of chef Uwe Opocensky at the MANDARIN ORIENTAL GRILL + BAR, and produce from their Cheung Chau farm is exclusive to the restaurant's menu. Meanwhile, organic bee farm BEE'S NEST is sweetening up THE RITZ-CARLTON's afternoon treats with their raw, mono-floral honey. Longan-flower-honey praline, chocolate-honey ganache and ivy-flower-honey custard are the stars of the set. You can try the milk-and-honey spa treatment is here to stay.
Custard with honey jelly at The Ritz-Carlton. Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong.