Photos by L.G. Patterson
Summer is the perfect time for a refreshing sweet treat. Whether you need something to cool you off or pick you up, sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a tasty indulgence. For those looking for something different, My Sweet Parlor, a new Asian dessert shop in downtown Columbia, aims to soothe your cravings.
Owner Pranlada Chompupong says growing up in Thailand, her family perfected Thai desserts, and now she is grateful to share her family recipes with Columbia. “If I can do it, I want to bring my mother’s recipes to the people in Columbia,” she says.
One of the most unique items Chompupong sells is bingsu, a milk- based Korean shaved ice dessert, “you can eat outside while it cools you down.”
It even comes in all kinds of flavors, including mango, brownie chocolate, strawberry, cantaloupe, green tea and Thai tea. “We don’t have any of that in Columbia,” Chompupong says. Alongside the bingsu, Chompupong also serves several flavors of cake, different kinds of honey toast, coffee, tea, sparkle drinks, yogurt and smoothies.
While dessert is the focus, it’s not the only thing you can purchase when walking in the doors. For those in need of a savory kick, Chompupong has recently added savory crepes, fresh rolls, mussaman curry and fresh authentic Thai noodles to the menu, all of which she says represent Thailand very well.
Chompupong’s husband previously owned Thip Thai, an authentic Thai restaurant that operated in Columbia for nearly a decade, and she wanted to give the community some of that authentic Thai experience by adding the savory dishes to her sweet shop menu. “The Thai curry noodle is one of our most popular and I love making it,” she says. “We always sell out.”
With continual appreciation for the savory changes, Chompupong has a “plan to expand the menu more in the future.” She hopes that by expanding her offerings over time, more people will be able to try more of what she believes is the most authentic Thai food available.
My Sweet Parlor opened in February, finishing renovations in March for the upstairs portion of the business. Since opening, Chompupong has seen business continually increase, especially once the weather warmed up and word got out about her sweet treats. “Business is very good and very busy on the weekends,” she says. “In the beginning, we didn’t promote much so business was slow, but now it has picked up.” She says the bingsu is particularly popular on the weekends, making it one of her best sellers and a perfectchoice for a summer treat. “I make it fresh every single day,” she says.
The two most popular cakes are the taro custard cakes, which is a cake on top of a Thai style custard with a similar texture to flan, and the coconut cake, made of fresh coconut milk and cream. “They are always really fresh,” Chompupong says.
She says Columbia was in need of a shop like hers, offering the most authentic desserts and dishes while providing a comfortable spot to spend the day. Chompupong says the goal is to be a place for people to come and take pictures, have private events and, of course, cool off in the summer. “I want it to be ‘Instagramable’ for students,” she says of her shop. “We had graduation parties; we can do baby showers or wedding showers, too.”
It’s all about giving a unique experience for people downtown, whether you come in to try food or just take a beautiful picture using the colorful backdrop provided. “We want it to be a place for people to enjoy that is unique and offers more variety in downtown Columbia,” Chompupong says. Customers are welcome to enjoy the upstairs area when a private party is not taking place. In fact, it’s one of the best places to sit and enjoy the treat of your choosing. “I love going up there,” she says. “It’s actually my favorite spot.”
For anyone who hasn’t come across the new shop, Chompupong has one thing to say: “Be open to try something new.” Everything is fresh, tasty and made daily by Chompupong herself. My Sweet Parlor is located at 1020 E. Broadway, suite G and is open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday, and from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. To book a private room, call 573-219-2224 or visit My Sweet Parlor on Facebook or Instagram to learn more about this sweet success.