One of my favorite people in New York City is Watt Sriboonruang, a former competitive Muay Thai fighter, now Rawsome Treats boutique dessert extraordinaire... and one of the kindest people I know. Her raw, vegan treats are entirely raw, plant-based, gluten-free, paleo-friendly, and use agave, dates, and coconut oil as sweeteners. With a fighter's rigorous training and strict diet, Watt started making these healthy, protein-packed desserts to satisfy her own craving for indulgent (often unhealthy) sweets. Her business began by sharing and then selling these treats within the fight community and within a few years she and her husband and business partner Chris Kwiatkowski, who is also a Muay Thai trainer and fighter opened up shop in NYC's Lower East Side. They've recently launched nationwide shipping of their pies, in eco-friendly packaging.
I've been stopping by to see Watt during the city's Covid-19 physical distancing. While checking in on her, I found out more about where she's from, her tips on getting more energy and strength with a plant-strong diet, what her comfort foods are. And, of course, I was there to get a weekly treat, including her incredible housemade Almond Milk, made with freshly cracked young coconuts.
Rawsome Treats 158 Orchard Street, NYC – Photo courtesy of Rawsome Treats
1) Please tell us a bit about yourself!
I was born and raised in Bangkok. But I always introduce myself as Isan (a north eastern region of Thailand) because my family is from Isan and we speak Isan dialect. I moved to NYC in 2006.
2) Tell us how Rawsome Treats began?
I have always loved to cook and Thailand has a very rich and varied food culture & history, but the essence of Rawsome Treats all started in my kitchen in the lower east side. At the time, I was training & fighting Muay Thai competitively. Muay Thai is a weight class sport, so you frequently have to train long hours intensely on very little food to be able to make a specific weight for the fight. To ease my own cravings, I began developing recipes that satisfied my sweet tooth without sacrificing my weight cut or performance.
Rawsome Treats whole pies
TOP: Strawberry Shortcake + Pie Palette - Black Sesame, Pumpkin, Dark Chocolate, Match Cream, Lemon Ginger, Cranberry Tangy, Peanut Butter Cup BOTTOM: Pumpkin Leche
3) Your pies are perfection. Where did you learn to perfect your craft?
I am sincerely not sure how one would measure “perfection“. For my part, perfection isn’t my goal, but rather I have a deep, lifelong personal obsession with quality. If you are committed to doing everything as beautifully as you can, and obsessed enough to keep working & refining, you will frequently be accused of perfection I think! (CW note: they are perfect)
4) What inspires each of your pie flavors? How many did you begin with, and how many are available now?
Each pie came from a different inspiration, a lot of them came from flavors I craved. The discipline needed for weight cuts would light up my imagination with all the things I wished I could eat, so I started harnessing those ideas. Some flavors are inspired by my all time favorites like the classic Tirawmisu or red velvet. But since my body doesn’t handle dairy or refined sugar very well, I began developing recipes just to please myself.
I can’t say exactly how many I began with. Probably a lot. The majority of them tasted like cardboard at the beginning. Now I have over 20 flavors on the menu.
Photo courtesy of Rawsome Treats
5) I know you as you were training for your fifth Muay Thai fight, you switched to a vegan diet. What tips do you have for more energy and physical strength through plant-based foods?
The best advice I can give someone who eats a plant based diet (or any kind of diet for that matter!) is to focus on eating a wide variety of foods. This will make sure you get essential nutrients, keep you from becoming bored with your meals and will keep you learning how exciting these foods can be.
6) What is your favorite comfort food meal?
Matcha Lattes (all day).
I’ve been eating once a day for years. If I can get matcha throughout the day, then I still feel good. The amount of matcha I have each day is a good indicator of what kind of day I’m having:
1 matcha: It’s either because I’m sick or traveling.
2-3 matchas: This is just right. It’s an ordinary day.
4 matchas: It must either be a really great day or a really f**ked up day.
In the past, it was sweet potato fries.
You can also order by the slice or Flight of 3 bites.
My favorites are Black Sesame, Matchamisu, and Coconut Dream
Photo courtesy of Rawsome Treats
7) What are the top three staples/ingredients in your pantry?
Quinoa, chili paste, and matcha (although as discussed above, I have matcha far more often than all of the others). Avocado and arugula although I’m not sure if they are considered pantry ingredients.
8) What does the future of Rawsome Treats look like to you?
More accessible nationwide via supermarket and local distributors.
My birthday Fourbidden Pie – espresso, dark chocolate, caramel and vanilla cream
Photo ©Monica Wong