The lore of Guy Yang Makkasan


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

The lore of Guy Yang Makkasan - April 22, 2005
Guy Yang Makkasan, the landmark restaurant at the intersection of Makkasan and Ratchaprarop Roads, is gone. This was a wooden building by the railroad tracks with chickens turning on spits in front of red glowing coals at the front of the restaurant. The shop served somtan, grilled chicken and other northeastern food.
It is likely the building was removed as part of the general clearing of encroaching buildings along the tracks in the Makkasan area in preparation for the Airport rail link.
Parking was available across the tracks in an old shopping area. People from all walks of life would park and then walk across the oily railroad tracks to reach the restaurant. The entire building rumbled and shook as trains passed. It was fun to sit and watch traffic in the heart of modern Bangkok in a building steeped with traditional lore. Among the stories:
* The placement of the grill that roasted chicken was at the front of the restaurant facing the end of Makkasan Road. This was done for proper wong shui (feng shui). Normally buildings that face an oncoming road either have small wong shui mirrors or, in rarer cases, a flame or cooking fire. Any of these is said to block the bad fortune that travels down a road. It was only in the last few months that the chickens were placed behind glass to protect them from exhaust fumes from the road a meter away.
* Due to a special number the restaurant had been given by a fortune teller, the restaurant only cooked a set number of chickens a day and usually closed by 6:00 pm when the food ran out.
* There was a photo on the wall of the late owner/manager along with a small shrine. In hushed tones the senior staff of the restaurant would tell this tale of his legendary death: The owner had come from the northeast and recruited all his staff from there for his successful restaurant. Once a fortune teller told him that the bad luck he had earned by slitting the necks of so many chickens who return upon him. The owner had a habit of mercilessly berating the staff he brought in from the provinces and most bore it stoically. One day, however, a young man who had had enough of the bullying grabbed a knife and slit his boss' throat, killing him and bringing the fortune teller's predictions to reality.
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