One of the best things about Thailand is the market places. There are plenty of market set-ups targeting both locals and tourists for individual or wholesale needs. We saw tonnes of small, local markets around with fresh fruit, dried food and even convenience store goods. One of my favorite experiences in the entire trip was a day of blissful haggling through the Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok. There were cramped aisles of clothing, jewelry, homewares, artwork and much more as far as the eye can see. It was much like my idea of heaven.
Stall vendors are common, not just in congregated spaces (like in a market) but can be seen lining the streets too. On smaller streets, there tends to be just a couple of food vendors that provide for the Thai folk but on bigger streets, the familiar touristy wares begin to surface.
In any country that I visit, I become fascinated with the street food. Often, it is some of the cheapest and tastiest food that you've ever eaten. Unlike popular dishes of that particular cuisine (e.g. Thai green curry or pad thai), you'd be hardpressed to find anything ressembling Thai street food at home. Ideally, I would've liked to try EVERYTHING but stomach capacity and hygiene-concerns get in the way.
This post is dedicated to showcasing the mind-boggling array of food I spotted whilst exploring the streets of Thailand. I didn't get to taste everything but honestly, the scope of food available was at times, a sufficient feast for the eyes alone.
Red curry, rotti and Vietnamese rice paper rolls from Chiang Mai night bazaar
The first market we really got to explore was the Chiang Mai night bazaar. It's mostly comprised of a couple of streets lined with souvenir/tourist good stalls but there is a large enclosed building with more stalls and a food hall too.
Dessert roti lady
The food hall was pretty awesome. It ran a coupon system where you exchange baht for coupons and coupons for food. There were so many food options available.
Nutella and banana roti
Aside from classic Thai (the busiest counter there), there was Vietnamese, Japanese, grilled meat, Indian, soups, satays, fruit smoothies, desserts and much more. Everything was cheap, cheap, cheap.
The following day, our tour group stopped at a local village market on the way from Chiang Mai to the hilltribes. Most of the shoppers were Thai locals. There were tonnes of counters selling fruit, lots of variety of rice, oil, snacks and cooked food.
Fresh coconut juice vendor at the Chatuchak market
When Kat and I got back to Bangkok, we visited the previously-mentioned Chatuchak markets. There was an entire food section full of stalls, a couple of proper cafes (sitting amongst the stalls) and PLENTY of refreshment stands. I suppose there was high demand for refreshments from hot and sweaty shoppers. What can I say? Shopping is hard work!
Coconut ice-cream and Thai tea ice-cream
I stopped off for some iced-coffee and later on, a serve of coconut and Thai tea-flavored ice-cream with evaporated milk. The coconut ice-cream was some of the best I'd ever tasted.
My last few photos are from Khao San Rd. There are plenty of bars/pubs along this street but for those who want a quick bite, street vendors are out in force. I spotted about a dozen kebab stands. I suppose the drunken desire for grilled meat is something ingrained in humans that transcends global borders.
Pad thai street trolley
There were also lots of grills stands selling things on sticks (easy to eat) but what I thought was cool was a mobile pad thai trolley. I'd love myself one of those back home! Order what components you want and have it all stir-fried fast before your eyes.
Deep-fried bugs anyone?
Finally, there were a couple of bug stalls tha survived off tourists wanting to get photographed eating bugs. It's part of the Thai experience, right? I hate bugs so I steered clear but Kat braved a silkworm. She said it wasn't too bad.
Wise words from a poster in Khao San Road
I really got a huge buzz exploring the markets of Thailand. There's something about the variety of food/goods, hectic service, cheap prices and cramped atmosphere that I find irresistable.