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Some Or Tor Kor Favorites

Michael Babcock, Saturday, February 1st, 2014

ตลาด อ.ต.ก. – Talat Or Tor Kor – (Or Tor Kor (pronounced Aw Taw Kaw) Market) in Bangkok has long been one of my favorite markets. It has a tremendous variety to offer, including fresh foods (produce and meats) and prepared foods (both to go and for eating at the market), with everything enticingly displayed. Whenever I’m in Thailand I’ll get there at least two or three times to graze the market and to purchase items to enjoy at home (Thai home, that is). In this blog, I highlight a few (only a few, alas) of my favorite stalls.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Passion Fruit Juice – Stall 10/9

On the frontmost row of the market, just at an intersection, is a stall that has various bottled drinks for sale. My favorite is the fresh passion fruit juice – น้ำเสาวรส (nam sao rot). A beautiful golden color, it is 100% passion fruit; it tastes slightly sour and very refreshing and best drunk straight (no water added or ice). I’ll always get one to drink with lunch and a few to take home and savor over the next few days. It’s the best passion fruit juice I’ve had in Thailand, and I’ve tried quite a few.

Fresh Drinks Stall

Fresh Drinks Stall

Fresh Drinks

Fresh Drinks

The tangerine juice (“orange Juice” – naam som) is also delicious (it’s also easy to find elsewhere), as is the enticingly green pennywort juice. I can’t answer for the sweet corn or carrot, however. Other juices that they sell include guava, sugar cane and lemongrass. They also have chrysanthemum tea and 10 herbals Chinese tea. They have a second stall in the market at stall 8/31.

Northern Food – Stall 10/16

Directly adjacent to the juice stall (10/9) as you head up the intersection (perpendicular to the long aisle in front) is a stall where we pick some items to take home.

Northern Food Stall

Northern Food Stall

Fresh Drinks

Northern Foods

We might pick up some of the items that are ready to eat: such as the dipping sauces Nam Prik Nuum or Nam Prik Ong along with some fried pork skin. We almost always pick up a couple items to take back to our townhouse to heat up or cook there:

Hunglay Pork Curry

Hunglay Pork Curry

Sour Fish

Sour Fish

To the left above we see one of my favorite curries (it’s among my Current Top Ten Favorite Dishes – Hunglay Curry – Kaeng Hunglay. The second item requires having your own kitchen so that you can fry it up: it’s the Sour Fish – Pla Som – pictured above right. (Check out Kasma’s blog: In Search of the Best Sour Fish (Pla Som).)

Egg Custards – (No Number)

Egg Custard Stall

Egg Custard Stall

Egg Custard

Egg Custard

This stall has recently moved (from 11/11). As you continue from stalls 10/9 and 10/16 on the intersecting aisle, you’ll come right away  to Miss Muay. The item to buy here is the egg custard: I often devour one on the spot. The pastry is flakey and delicious (though it could be a little thinner) and the filling creamy and sweet but not too sweet. Delicious! They are best warm. Some of the other items they sell are various “pies” (more like an individual pasty – tuna, spinach cheese, sausage and chicken), cheese cake, custard caramel, pudding and cake. I tried the cheese cake and found it a bit dry in texture.

Pad Thai and Mussel Cakes- Stall 11/40

Towards the back corner closest to the parking lot is an area where you can order all kinds of food cooked to order: it’s basically a food center area such as you’d find in any mall but without the tokens. You can order whatever you’d like and sit in the shared seating area. Be warned: at lunch time, especially on weekends, it can be hard to find an empty table.

Pad Thai Stall

Pad Thai Stall

I’m not a real fan of Pad Thai, though it seems to be the favorite of so many fahrangs (westerners) – to my taste buds there are so many other more interesting noodle dishes. (Check out my blog on Thai Noodles – An Amazing Variety.) This stall in Or Tor Kor is the one place in Thailand that I will often order Pad Thai. I love the presentation: rather than cooking the dish with egg shreds, as is more usual, here it is served inside of the egg – a Pad Thai omelette, if you will. It tastes good and the owners of the stall are always friendly and welcoming, which helps.

I’ll also order another dish here – Pan-Fried Mussel Cakes with Wilted Bean Sprouts and Hot-Sour Chilli Sauce (Hoi Malaeng Poo Tod) – it’s what she is cooking in the photo to the left).

(See my blog Pad Thai at Aw Taw Kaw Market.)

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Mussel Cakes

Mussel Cakes

Above left is the Pad Thai. The Fried Mussel Cakes are above right.

Delicious Pad Kaprao– Stall 12/19

Basil Duck Stall

Basil Roast Duck Stall

Basil Duck

Basil Roast Duck

This is the dish I order the most at Or Tor Kor – it is Roast Duck Stir-fried with Holy Basil – Kaprao Ped Yang; on the sign in the picture to the left, it’s on the top line in the middle – กระเพราเป็ดย่าง (click for a larger version). It is your typical pad kaprao (stir-fried with holy basil) dish made with roast duck and served over rice. It is as delicious as it looks in the picture here.

Dried Fruits – Stall 5/24

Dried Goods Stall

Dried Goods Stall

I can’t resist adding one more stall, since I nearly always make a purchase here of dried jackfruit chips. This stall is at the very front of the market, perpendicular to the longer aisles. Although they have dried fruit and nuts of many varieties here, my favorite is the dried jackfruit chips. Another item I’ll get is the roasted cashew nuts with sugared sesame seeds, which are mildly addicting.


I could keep going: a roast pork stall, one of the stalls to buy durian, the stall where I get Tod Man (Fish Cakes), the stall with GABA rice, etc. I’m going to stop here and suggest that the next time you’re in Bangkok, head out to Or Tor Kor and find your own favorites!

Also, check out my previous blog Aw Taw Kaw (Or Tor Kor) Market in Bangkok

Getting to Or Tor Kor

Or Tor Kor Market is located on Kamphaengphet Road – Th Kamphaengphet. The easiest way to get there by public transport is take the metro (MRT) and get off at Kamphaeng Phet exit 3. The Saphan Khwai Skytrain (N7) is also located roughly 0.3 Kilometres away.


Written by Michael Babcock, February 2014

Donuts in Thailand, An Informal Survey

Michael Babcock, Friday, February 15th, 2013

This is a blog about donuts in Thailand. Over the years, I’ve observed donuts in a number of locations, from chain stores to open-air markets. This blog shows some of the donuts I’ve seen over the years.

Colorful Donuts

From a Bangkok open-air market

As I’ve observed before, there has been a proliferation of western carbohydrates in Thailand over the 21 years I’ve been coming here. (See my blog, in a new window, Western Carbs in Thailand.) Although Thai kanom (snacks) are relatively healthy (they nearly all contain a healthy ingredient such as coconut milk, squash, taro, etc.), some kanom wahn (sweet kanom) can be very sweet – some Thais do have a sweet tooth. (Also see my blog, in a new window, Thai Sweet Snacks.)

(Click images to see larger version.)

It would appears that donuts are fairly popular. In January 2011 we happened to be visiting Siam Paragon shopping center. We saw a line of perhaps 50 or 60 Thais, out the door, and wondered what the fuss was about. Turns out they were all lined up for Krispy Kreme donuts; we saw people walking away with two large boxes of donuts. I didn’t have my camera but you can see a photo of the phenomena at Krispy Kreme Opens in Bangkok | everythinghapa (opens in new page). Thais were still lining up half a year after the stores official opening. Certainly, this reflects the inroads in Thailand of Western food chains, something discussed at Indigenization of Thai Restaurants Overseas: Part 1 – American Fast Food Chains in Thailand.

Selling Snacks

"Hawker" with "donut holes"

These days you can find lots of donuts in any shopping center. There are inevitably a chain or two – Mr. Donut and Dunkin’ Donuts are popular – but you can also find donuts in the ground-floor supermarkets (found in every mall) as well as in the many stores (usually a dozen or more) selling western-style baked goods. You’ll find them in open-air markets, from vendors on the street and even from hawkers carrying two baskets suspended by a bamboo pole. As with the first picture above (taken at a Bangkok outdoor market in 2008), the donuts are often brightly glazed.

The Thais also have some snacks that are very reminiscent of donut holes. In Oakland we have donut savant (link goes to their Facebook page in new window), which makes the best donut holes around.

Thai Snack

A Thai snack

Inside a Snack

Inside the Thai snack

Here are two pictures of a “Thai donut hole.” I bought this snack from the hawker shown in the picture to the above right in Sukhothai. They reminded me of donut savant so I gave them a try. They were somewhat sweet (deep-fried and glazed) and contain a mung-bean filling, shown to the left, that is barely sweet. They weren’t bad!

Another Hawker

Hawker with 3 snacks

Glazed Donuts

Glazed donuts

Here are two pictures from Ayuthaya back in 2004. These donuts were sold by the hawker in the left picture. There are highly glazed donuts in the front basket and more traditional snacks in the back basket: the backmost (white) snack is a traditional snack rolled in coconut shreds, and the middle snack is a type of fried dough.

Sukhothai Donuts

Sukhothai Donuts

Tops Donuts #1

Tops Donuts #1

Above to the left are more glazed donuts from the morning market in Sukhothai. To the right, are some colorfully decorated donuts from the bakery at Tops Supermarket at MBK center in Bangkok.

Western & Thai

Western & Thai together

Mae Hong Son Donuts

Mae Hong Son Donuts

These pictures are both from the market in Mae Hong Son. The leftmost picture again (as with the hawker above) shows western and Thai snacks sold by the same person. The left tray has very tightly rolled donuts in back next to powdered jelly donuts in the front. The right trays show coconut pancakes (kanom krok) sold in banana leaf baskets: truly the traditional is meeting the modern here! The picture to the right shows deep-fried donuts, some with sesame seeds.

Donuts in a Bag

Donuts in plastic bags

Plain Donuts

Plain donuts in Mae Hong Son

These are also from the market in Mae Hong Son and show small donuts sold pre-packaged in a plastic bag – 8 for 10 baht (about 35 cents at the time)! I tried these donuts – each one was about two bites: they tasted just like a plain cake donut back in the states. Not bad.

I should note that like Sukhothai, this market is frequented mainly by locals with just a few tourists; it is certainly the locals who are the target audience for these supposedly western sweets.

Tops Donuts #2

From Tops Market

Tops Donuts #3

Unglazed Tops donuts

Here are two more pictures of the donuts available at Tops Supermarket at the MBK center in Bangkok. My, they do like highly frostinged donuts! The ones to the right are less sweet.

Mr. Donut

Mr. Donut in a shopping center

Mr. Donut's Donuts

Mr. Donut's Donuts

There’s a Mr. Donut in nearly every mall in Bangkok. This picture is from the Imperial World in Samrong (Samut Prakhan) on the edge of Bangkok. There’s a Mr. Donut on the lower and the ground floors. I also see that there’s a big sign on the main floor announcing that “Dunkin’ Donuts is coming soon!”


See also (all open in a new window):


Written by Michael Babcock, February 2013

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Michael Babcock, Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Damnoen Saduak (ดำเนินสะดวก) Floating Market, is one of the most popular tourist destinations for both Thais and non-Thais. Located in Ratchaburi about 109 kilometers south of Bangkok (approximately 2 hours drive) it is well worth a visit. In Thai, this type of market is called a ตลาดน้ำ (Talaat Nahm), which literally means “water market.”

Note: : If you wish, please skip directly to the slideshow of Damnoen Saduak at the bottom of the page.

Fried Banana Boats - 3

Fried Banana Boats

Kasma does take her “off-the-beaten-track” tours to this popular destination. In the past, particularly in Bangkok (once called “The Venice of the East”), floating markets were more common than markets on land; this is a chance to see floating markets and imagine how it must have been.

(Click images to see larger version.)

In order to get the best experience, Kasma leaves Bangkok quite early in the morning so that the group can arrive by 7:00 a.m. At that time, there are few tourists and are still many vendors in their boats on the klong (canal). It’s a chance to see the market before it’s overrun by tourists. Kasma rents boats and, after grazing through the market and purchasing a few kanom (snacks) to tide the group over until breakfast, she takes the group through some of the auxiliary canals near the market.

View from Bridge

View from Bridge

One thing you can not avoid on the boat rides is slowing down near the stalls on the side selling clothes and souvenirs. Be warned: the prices at the market are mostly exorbitant, two to three times (or more) what an item sells for elsewhere. So if you see something you like: bargain!!

After a stop to see palm sugar being made (if the group is lucky: they’re not always working when we are there), the boats return to the main market area where the tour members sit and eat delicious “Boat Noodles” (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ – Kway Teow Reua) – see our blog Boat Noodles at Damnoen Saduak Market. Afterwards, we walk the market area by the piers, grazing and shopping for fruit, and climb the stairs to a bridge overlooking the main canal, a good vantage point for photographs.

We also make a stop at a stand on the way out of the market to buy ขนมครก (Kanom Krok) -Grilled Coconut-Rice Hot Cakes. Sometimes they make them using black sticky rice flour so we can purchase them in two colors.

It’s a fun excursion. Well worth the visit, particularly if you can get there early.

How to Get There

By Car: From Bangkok. Take Highway No. 4 (Phetchakasem Rd.) and turn left at Km. 80. You’ll travel about 25 kms more along the Bangpae-Damnoen Saduak Rd. You can also get there by joining a tour or by bus from the Southern Bus Terminal on Borommarat Chachonnani Road starting at 6 a.m.


Damnoen Saduak Slideshow

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Market Sign
Canal
Side Canal
Canal Scene
Vendor]
Thai Snack
Monk
Buddha Statue
Noodle Vendor
Lime Vendor
Food Vendor
Banana Vendor
Fruit Vendor
Fried Banana Boats
Fried Banana Boats - 2
Cutting Bananas
Frying Bananas
Wok Close-up
Fried Banana Boats - 3
Selling Bananas
Nursery Boat
Mango Boat
Boat Noodle Sign
Making Noodles
Boat Noodles
Making Snacks
Kanom Krok
View from Bridge

One of the signs for Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, from the canal

Heading out on a side-canal early in the morning just after sunrise

One of the less-traveled side canals

Another canal scene at Damnoen Saduak

This vendor is selling Thai-Style Coconut Macaroon Cakes - ขนมบ้าบิ่น (Kanom Ba Bin)

Thai-Style Smoked Coconut Macaroon Cakes - ขนมบ้าบิ่น (Kanom Ba Bin)

This monk is using a boat on his morning alms round

Transporting a Buddha statue - you never know what you'll see

This vendor is assembling "Boat Noodles" - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ (Kway Teow Reua)

Vendor selling limes

A food vendor at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Grilled banana vendor; everything cooked on the boat

Fruit vendor on the water

Two boats dedicated to frying bananas - กล้วยทอด (Kluey Tawd)

Close up of the two boats selling fried bananas

Cutting the bananas to fry

Close-up of the frying bananas in a big wok

The frying bananas, close-up

Frying bananas (right) and displaying them (left)

Woman selling Fried Bananas - กล้วยทอด (Kluey Tawd)

A nursery on a boat, featuring young coconut trees

Boat selling Sticky Rice and Mango - ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง (Kao Niao Mamuang)

Here's where we purchase our delicious "Boat Noodles" - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ (Kway Teow Reua)

"Boat Noodles" being assembled at our favorite place

Our favorite "Boat Noodles" - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ (Kway Teow Reua)

This vendor, on the land, is making Grilled Coconut-Rice Hot Cakes - ขนมครก (Kanom Krok)

Close-up of Grilled Coconut-Rice Hot Cakes - ขนมครก (Kanom Krok)

Here's the view from a bridge overlooking the market

Market Sign thumbnail
Canal thumbnail
Side Canal thumbnail
Canal Scene thumbnail
Vendor thumbnail
Thai Snack thumbnail
Monk thumbnail
Buddha Statue thumbnail
Noodle Vendor thumbnail
Lime Vendor thumbnail
Food Vendor thumbnail
Banana Vendor thumbnail
Fruit Vendor thumbnail
Fried Banana Boats thumbnail
Fried Banana Boats - 2 thumbnail
Cutting Bananas thumbnail
Frying Bananas thumbnail
Wok Close-up thumbnail
Fried Banana Boats - 3 thumbnail
Selling Bananas thumbnail
damnoen-saduak-20 thumbnail
Mango Boat thumbnail
Boat Noodle Sign thumbnail
Making Noodles thumbnail
Boat Noodles thumbnail
Making Snacks thumbnail
Kanom Krok thumbnail
View from Bridge thumbnail

Written by Michael Babcock, January 2013.

Chatuchak Market in Bangkok

Kasma Loha-unchit, Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Cooling Off and Filling Up at Chatuchak

Heading for Chatuchak Weekend Market – ตลาดจตุจักร – on the skytrain on a Saturday morning, I chuckled to myself, “I’m going to ‘church!'” It’s an inside joke Michael and I shared with my mother about a decade and a half ago when she was in her mid-70’s and still very active and mobile.

Food Stall

Food stall

One of my brothers had converted to the Seventh Day Adventist faith in his youth. Following father’s death in 1997, whenever he visited from Singapore where he lived and worked, he would try to persuade mother to go to church with him on the Sabbath. Having been a Buddhist all her life, Mom disliked going as she found Christianity to be irrational and narrow. So, whenever he’s in town, we would hurry off to Chatuchak on Saturday morning before he arrived at the house. We would say “We’re off to ‘church!'”

(Click images to see larger version. Slide show at bottom of page.)

And what a ‘church’ it is, well-attended by people of all persuasions, happy and enjoying their time at the huge bazaar filled with sights, scents, sounds and delightful tastes where there is something for everybody. It’s our own kind of earthly heaven and a great way to spend a day without any goal.

Squid Egg Stand

Squid egg stand

This is the third June in a row that I’ve come to Thailand – not for business but to visit mother who is now in assisted living at Mission Hospital in Bangkok. In between trips to see her, I try to squeeze in visits to some of my old haunts to check things out and see what changes have taken place. So today it’s Chatuchak* (see below for inconsistencies in the spelling of the market’s name) – Southeast Asia’s, if not the world’s, largest bazaar.

I like to arrive early as the shops are just opening and many of the stalls are still being set up. It can get very hot here by mid-day, even during the cool winter months, when the crowds swell and the narrow aisles get stuffy. Although shaded, the ventilation is poor with the cubicle stalls packed so closely together and spilling onto the aisles. But it’s what makes this bustling bazaar exciting!. By early afternoon, the heat and crowds are usually more than I can bear and my feet are achingly sore from hours of walking about, especially if I have acquired a heavy load of goodies to carry. Then it’s time to take an air-con cab home.

Coconuts

Various coconut treats

This June is especially hot and I’m already soaking wet with sweat by mid-morning. An iced cappucino made to order from freshly ground coffee beans from one of many stalls is my first attempt at cooling down while at the same time getting a jolt of energy to continue on. Much better than any Starbucks can make! A half hour later, it’s time for an ice-cold roasted coconut! Very refreshing and rejuvenating! There’s no shortage of choices of cold drinks besides ice-cold bottled water. The problem is there are too many choices!

Fruit Smoothies

Fruit smoothie stand

Grass jelly is cold and invigorating, made with an herb that has cooling properties for this hot, steamy weather. But wait a minute, there’s the tart, thirst-quenching roselle drink. made from a red hibiscus flower. Next to it is “bua bok” and I love “bua bok!” (pennywort, also labeled “gotu kola” – a very good herb for the capillaries in the brain and for internal inflammations). There’s also chrysanthemum with stellar cooling properties, especially when I’m this hot! A few steps further, my attention shifts from the innumerable jars of herbal drinks to a colorful stall with neatly stacked covered plastic glasses filled with various kinds of fruits. For a very cold and refreshing fruit shake, all one needs to do is select a glass with the fruit of choice for the vendor to put in a blender with ice and some syrup. I settle for a strawberry shake and it’s so cold my chest begins to ache!

The annex to the main market, called Jatuchak (their spelling) Plaza, has wider aisles and taller roofs and is less crowded, so I wander in that direction. It’s not quite as interesting a place to “window” shop though unless you are looking for home furnishings. I wish I could bring some of the beautiful teak furniture home but it’s too much trouble to deal with shipping. Beyond the plaza is the air-con JJ Mall which opens seven days a week unlike the main bazaar that’s open mostly only on weekends. I’ve never been in there before and decide to check it out – at least I can use some cooling off. It turns out to be a less-than-desirable move as the mall is waaaaayyyyy too boring. So after I’ve cooled off enough, I head back to the main bazaar area.

Grilled Pork

Grilled pork on skewers

All along the walk from main bazaar to plaza to mall, there’s no shortage of cold beverages and tempting foods to cool off and fill up on. For a quick bite, the grilled pork on skewers is delicious! So is the crispy skin roasted pork belly with hot dipping sauce! There are lots of other quick eats that don’t require sitting down and wasting precious shopping time. For those whose feet are tired and prefer to sit down, there are plenty of stalls with sitting areas all around the bazaar offering various kinds of noodle and rice dishes, salads and grilled foods. Some are small and get very crowded by the noon hour. For cool, air con comfort and more refined decor, there’s, of course, Toh Plue (see Michael’s blog on Toh Plue Restaurant in Bangkok.) where the food is good but comes at a price for the comfort. It’s well worth it if you have the time.

Coconut Ice Cream

Coconut ice cream

On this trip, I forego sitting down for a leisurely meal by myself. After all, all along my walk around the bazaar I’ve acquired a big selection of irresistible ready-made foods to keep me well-fed for days. But before I leave, I cannot miss out on the fresh-made coconut ice cream with a choice of toppings, including peanuts, palm seeds, cooked pumpkin, young coconut meat and sweet corn. I sit down on a stool in front of the stall shaded by patio umbrellas and savor every mouthful with great satisfaction. It’s my last attempt to cool off in this tropical heat before hopping on a cab to head home, leaving my earthly “church” in a state of contentment.


* The official spelling of the market’s name according to the signs in the market is “Jatuchak” but this presents an inconsistency as the same Thai alphabet is used to begin both the first and third syllables. So if the letter “j” better represents the Thai alphabet’s sound, the spelling should then be “jatujak.” I prefer to use “ch” to approximate the sound of the Thai alphabet which is neither “j” nor “ch.” The particular Thai alphabet is often represented by ‘ch” in many other instances in proper names.


Slideshow

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.
Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Fruit Smoothies
Tangerine Juice
Coconuts
Coconut Ice Cream
Popsicles
Two Food Stands
Pineapples
Grilled Pork
Pork Belly
Food Stall
Noodle Stand
Soup Noodle Stand
Salad Stand
Squid Egg Stand
Grilled Squid
Potato Chips
Freshwater Prawns]
Grilled Prawns
Food Treats
Pastries
Dumplings
Prepared Food
Fish Curry
JJ Plaza Sign

For a very cold drink, customers select a glass with the fruit of their choice which the vendor empties into a blender with ice and some syrup to make a frosty, non-dairy fruit shake.

Bottles of fresh-squeezed tangerine orange juice sit in ice water to keep cold. To the left is a pile of roasted young coconuts.

Fresh young coconuts, roasted coconuts and coconut ice cream are all great on a hot day to rejuvenate tired bodies and give a boost of energy to shoppers.

Coconut ice cream, served in the half shell of a roasted coconut, comes with a choice of toppings, including cooked pumpkin, palm seeds, roasted peanuts, young coconut meat and sweet corn. Not to be missed!

Popsicles of flavored juices are made fresh on the spot in a popsicle maker.

A pushcart behind a "miang kum" vendor offers several different kinds of thirst-quenching and cooling beverages made from herbs, fruits and flowers, including roselle (hibiscus flower), pennywort (gotu kola), chrysanthemum, grass jelly and bale fruit.

A pile of delicious-looking pineapples is irresistible on a hot day!

Grilled marinated pork on skewers is an easy way to have a bite without needing to sit down and waste precious shopping time.

For carnivores, crispy skin roasted pork belly is hard to resist.

A stall selling rice dishes includes the common and well-loved stewed pork leg rice.

Customers wait their turn for the few seats around a "kanom jeen" stall where fresh rice noodles are served with a choice of spicy curries.

A soup noodle vendor offers a choice of pork, beef and chicken toppings in front of a large seating area shared with other food vendors.

These two northeastern women make different kinds of hot-and-sour salads in their large wooden mortars, including green papaya salad with a choice of fresh, dried, salted, pickled and dried seafoods.

Many of my cooking students who have cleaned squid in my kitchen should know how tasty squid eggs can be. They have a texture and flavor more like some kind of meat than fish.

Marinated grilled squid on skewers come whole (with egg sacs still inside) and in threaded pieces.

Have you ever had fresh-fried potato chips on a skewer?

Live fresh-water prawns are grilled to order for customers.

Freshly grilled, whole fresh-water prawns draw customers to this stand.

The covered walkway outside JJ Mall is lined with tempting treats being made right on the spot.

These round pastries are stuffed with various fillings, including taro, pumpkin, mung beans, red beans and pineapple.

Pork and shrimp dumplings are steamed on a special tray along with stuffed chive and bamboo shoot cakes.

For health food lovers, this stall makes delicious spicy salads and stir-fries with shitake mushroom stems – an "in" food trend of the health food movement.

This yummy-looking curry, made on the spot with featherback fish dumplings and bamboo shoots, is my favorite kind of green curry. I couldn't resist buying a bag to take home for dinner!

Sign pointing to Jatuchak Plaza

Fruit Smoothies thumbnail
Tangerine Juice thumbnail
Coconuts thumbnail
Coconut Ice Cream thumbnail
Popsicles thumbnail
Two Food Stands thumbnail
Pineapples thumbnail
Grilled Pork thumbnail
Pork Belly thumbnail
Food Stall thumbnail
Noodle Stand thumbnail
Soup Noodle Stand thumbnail
Salad Stand thumbnail
Squid Egg Stand thumbnail
Grilled Squid thumbnail
Potato Chips thumbnail
Freshwater Prawns thumbnail
Grilled Prawns thumbnail
Food Treats thumbnail
Pastries thumbnail
Dumplings thumbnail
Prepared Food thumbnail
Fish Curry thumbnail
JJ Plaza Sign thumbnail

Also see:


Written by Kasma Loha-unchit, June 2012

Mae Hong Son Breakfast

Michael Babcock, Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Whenever we’re in Mae Hong Son we head to a small shop by the morning market for our breakfast. Found on the small by-street leading into the market, it’s run by a friendly Vietnamese family and has several excellent choices to start out the day. As another plus, they make fresh-brewed coffee that is very good.

Kasma with Owner

Kasma and the restaurant Owner

The Mae Hong Son morning market is lively, colorful and fun; it’s definitely a blog for another day. Several online sites say it is found on Sihanatbamrung road near Wat Hua Wiang; When I loook at the map of Mae Hong Son it appears to me to be right off Nivet Pisan Rd. This restaurant is on one of the little alleys leading into the market, off Nivat Pisan Road (also transliterated as Nivespisan), as far as I can tell. There’s a bank on the left as you look from the street to the market entry with an archway over the alley: check out the pictures at the bottom of the page.

I’m going to include pictures of our favorite breakfast foods here and show the exterior and interior of the restaurant at the bottom of the page.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Vietnamese Eggs

Eggs, Vietnamese Style - Kai Gata - ไข่กะทะ

Close-up of Dish

Vietnamese Eggs (Kai Gata - ไข่กะทะ)

I call these Vietnamese Eggs, or Eggs, Vietnamese Style, because I’ve only had them in Vietnamese-run restaurants in Thailand, in Mae Hong Son and also in the Northeast. In Thai they are called Kai Gata – ไข่กะทะ. As you see in the photos, it consists of two fried eggs topped with sweet (the red) sausage, Vietnamese sausage, ground pork and green onions. It’s served with a bun with more sweet sausage. It’s a good, meaty breakfast.

Noodle Dish

Noodle Dish - Kway Chap

Rice Porridge

Rice Porridge - Johk

Kway Chap – ก๋วยจั๊บ – (note, Thai spelling does not display correctly with the font I have) is a type of noodle; it’s a flat noodle that curls up so that it looks like tubes when served. At this shop it is usually served with pork innards; this is a bowl that Kasma ordered for a trip member without the innards, though it does have pork blood. The innards are quite delicious and super healthy. The rice porridge (congee, or johk – โจ๊ก) can also be ordered with the innards.

Pad See Ew

Stir-fried Noodles - Pad See Ew - ผัดซีอิ้ว

Fresh Brewed Coffee

Fresh Brewed Coffee

The Stir-fried Noodles, or Pad See Ew – ผัดซีอิ้ว – are made with wide, fresh rice noodles. You can get them with pork or chicken. They make a very good fresh-brewed coffee here. The picture shows Kafee Sohd Rawn – กาเเฟสดร้อน – literally, “hot, fresh, coffee.” You can also get Kafee Sohd Yen – กาเเฟสดเย็น – yen meaning cold. Each cup is brewed to order. It is served “Thai style,” meaning it comes with a glass of tea as a chaser for the rich, dark coffee.

Condiment Set

Condiment set

Tangerine Juice

Tangerine Juice

Of course, you can add and balance flavors, as at any noodle shop in Thailand. To the left is the collection of condiments on the table. (See Michael’s blog on Thai Condiment Sets.) Also available, and shown to the right, is fresh-squeezed “Orange Juice” – nam som – น้ำส้ม. I put it in quotes because their orange is really more like a tangerine. Whatever you call it, this drink is very, very good: it is pure, unadulterated, unsweetened fruit juice. Very tasty and delicious.

Breakfast Shop

Front of restaurant

Restaurant Cart

Front of restaurant

This is our breakfast restaurant to the left. It’s right next to a store selling books and newspapers on its left; the store on the right is selling clothing. Look for the cart in the right-hand picture; the cart has a picture in the center of coffee with pictures of the the specialties of the restaurant in the 4 corners (click to see a larger image).

Street View

View towards the street

Restaurant

Inside looking out

The leftmost picture shows the view looking from just past the restaurant (which is towards the left, look for the stand) toward the street. You can see the archway in the middle of the picture. The right hand picture shows the view from the back of the restaurant looking toward front alley. It’s a very typical Thai store-front restaurant.

Menu 1

Menu with specialties

Menu 2

Another menu

These are the menus found on the wall of the restaurant. The blue menu (to the left) has the specialties: from the top down they are Vietnamese Eggs (kai gata), toast (kanom bang), Pork Blood (leuak moo), kway chap noodles, rice porridge (johk),, fresh-brewed coffee, Nescafe and Ovaltine. The red menu, except for the bottom two items, are either fried rice dishes or dishes served over rice. We’ve never ordered rice dishes here: just the special items. I always have a hard time choosing: everything is done very well, indeed.


Written by Michael Babcock, 2012

Boat Noodles at Damnoen Saduak Market

Michael Babcock, Thursday, March 1st, 2012

One of my favorite stops when we visit Thailand is Damnoen Saduak Floating market in Ratchaburi province. Although it is also one of the most heavily touristed places I visit, the color and interest is always there.

Boat Noodle Vendor

Boat noodle vendor

When Kasma visits them on her small-group trips to Thailand, she makes a point to get there around 6:45 a.m., long before the tourist buses and hoards of tourists descend. At that time the market is relatively quiet and you can have a leisurely, uncrowded ride around the klong (canals). She always gets there early by leaving Bangkok early (around 5:00 a.m.); the Lonely Planet Guide to Thailand suggests some places to stay nearby as an alternative. The market is located 104 kilometers south-west of Bangkok, in-between Nakhon Pathom and Samut Songkhram.

It gives you an idea of what Thailand must have been like in the old days, before roads when much of the commerce took place on the canals.

Boat Noodle Sign

Look for this sign

One of the fun sights of the market is the boats laden with produce or the restaurant boats, complete with propane burners on which hot food is prepared.

Like all Thai markets, indeed, like nearly anywhere in Thailand, there is an abundance of food, both as ingredients and prepared food. Our preferred breakfast here is always boat noodles from the vendor at the far end of the old section of the market – look for the sign to the right.

Boat noodles are a name for a type of noodle in Thailand. Sometimes you’ll pass a restaurant in the street with a boat out front to advertise boat noodles. They tend to have a rich broth and are usually made with pork or beef. The boat noodles from our favorite stand are made with pork, rich and flavorful.

Boat Noodles

Pork Boat Noodles

These boat noodles are very good; the broth rich and flavorful and a little bit spicy from the get-go. Of course, there’s always the condiment set to let you adjust the flavors to your liking. (See Michael’s blog on Thai Condiment Sets.)

You can either purchase the noodles while riding by on a boat or from land. We usually purchase them after our boat ride and sit on the steps, slurping and enjoying the delicious meal.

On a recent trip, the vendor had, unfortunately, taken the day off. We found a reasonably good vendor a little further down. So if you’re unlucky enough to show up on a day off (it only happened once in 26 years for Kasma), try one of the other vendors for a more than adequate substitute.

Slideshow

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.
Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Boat Noodle Sign
Boat Noodle Stall
Boat Noodle Vendor
Assembling the Noodles
Making boat noodles
Finishing off the noodles
Boat Noodles
Condiment Set
Noodles, ready to eat
Another Assembler
Enjoying noodles

Here's the sign for our favorite boat noodle vendor at Damneon Saduak Floating Market

Here's the view from the mainland for delicious boat noodles

Our favorite boat noodle vendor at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Our favorite vendor assembles a bowl of boat noodles

Another shot of our favorite vendor

His daughter (I'm pretty sure) finishes the assembly.

These are how the boat noodles are served. They'll need to be mixed first.

Use this condiment set to adjust the flavors of the noodles.

These noodles are seasoned, mixed and ready to eat!

Sometimes the main vendor is gone and his daughter takes over. The noodles are just as good!

Here's one of Kasma's groups enjoying the noodles on the nearby steps.

Boat Noodle Sign thumbnail
Boat Noodle Stall thumbnail
Boat Noodle Vendor thumbnail
Assembling the Noodles thumbnail
Making boat noodles thumbnail
Finishing off the noodles thumbnail
Boat Noodles thumbnail
Condiment Set thumbnail
Noodles, ready to eat thumbnail
Another Assembler thumbnail
Enjoying noodles thumbnail

This stall was previously the subject of a Wednesday Photo – Boat Noodles.


Written by Michael Babcock, March 2012