Bangkok Podcast 61: Thai Spirit Houses

Have you ever walked down the street and wondered what’s up with those dollhouses on pillars that seem to be outside every building? Many have, and this is why we’re happy to have Marisa Cranfill on this episode, who is one of Thailand’s foremost (non-Thai) experts on Thai spirit houses. Despite Tony’s mysterious mic problems, we talk to Marisa about what exactly these houses mean and where they come from. She also gives us the lowdown on exactly what’s inside the little structures, why you’ll most commonly see red Fanta soda sitting on the mini ‘porch’, and what happens to all that food that people leave as offerings? It’s a complicated part of Thai culture that has deep roots in Brahmin, Hindu and Buddhist religions, and plays an important part in how Thais see the luck and success – or lack thereof – of their households.

We are also joined by J.J. Grill, one of two reviewers at a website called What We Went Through that aims to give an honest and impartial review of restaurants in Bangkok. No frills, no bias, just honest reporting about the level of service, food and value from a customer’s point of view.

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Photo: Jason Pratt