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Don Wai Market

Michael Babcock, January 16th, 2010

One of our favorite markets in Thailand is Talat Don Wai – Don Wai Market – in in the Sam Phran district of Nakhon Pathom on the banks of the Nakhon Chaisi river.

Dried Fish

Dried Fish

The market remains largely undiscovered by westerners, although it’s a popular market for Thai tourists; usually when we visit at least one Thai tour group comes through. It’s It’s actually very close to Bangkok – about a 30 to 40 minute drive for us, most of the time. I have no idea how to get there by public transportation, although a Bangkok Post article says that there’s a BTS station slated for Bang Khae, apparently quite close. It’s associated with a temple, I believe of the same name, and located directly next to it, right on the river.

Mussels and shrimp, ready to eat

Mussels and shrimp, ready to eat

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

We visit at least once every year; we always bring Kasma’s mom along (which means I don’t get to take too many pictures, as I wheel her mom along in a wheel chair). I like that everything here is geared for Thai people; I’ve seldom seen another westerner here.

The market is noteworthy for a number of things. There’s a very good selection of dried fish and all kinds of prepared seafood, both fish, crustacean and mollusk: one of these consists of smaller, whole fish floating in a dark sauce called tom khem.

Cooking ducks

Cooking ducks

You’ll see a lot of duck here; from roast duck to a Chinese-style duck stew called ped phalo. On our visits we always eat at a restaurant on a deck by the river that sells great duck noodles; and we always get a serving of the fried fish cakes (tawd man) that’s found sizzling in the wok on the entryway in.

As you enter the market from the parking lot, you go through a section with fresh produce, some very good-looking fresh fruit. We’ve bought pomelo (som-oh) here as well as jack-fruit. You then enter a section that has dried fish, prepared food and vendors making various Thai kanom (snacks) right there. We always get some delectable kanom paeng jee (grilled coconut cakes). There’s a vendor in this section that has great bplah som (fermented fish) that we take home and fry up crispy.

Grilled coconut cakesGrilled coconut cakes

The next section has lots of dried fruits, snacks of various kinds, coconuts of various kinds, including some species that are considered medicinal, and  also a stall with lots (and I do mean LOTS) of stewed ducks. One year we came here around New Year’s and even with the huge pots they have, there were very few ducks left.

At the end of this section there’s the path to the restaurant we like – when we’ve gone there’s always been a young woman out front frying up the fish cakes.

I won’t say much more: I’ll let some photographs from our visits here give some sense of the color and variety, although there’s so much more to see than I can include here.The best thing to do is to go there yourself. Make sure you’re hungry because you will definitely be tempted! Be sure to click on the pictures to see a larger version.

Ready-to-eat food

Ready-to-eat food

More delicious cooked food

More delicious cooked food

These pictures show some of the delectable already-cooked food available at Don Wai. You never really need to cook in Thailand – there’s always something delicious available.

Crabs

Crabs

Fish Dish

Fish Dish

Seafood is one of the highlights of the market. On the left are some very fresh crabs. The left picture is of a ready-to-eat fish called tom khem.

Chilli Sauces

Chilli Sauces

Young Coconut

Young Coconut

There’s a well-kept secret in Thai cooking – nahm prik; on the left is a woman selling these pre-made chilli pastes (both wet and dry) that can transform simple ingredients into a one-dish meal. And no Thai market is complete without young coconut, a refreshing drink at all times.

Restaurant Sign

Restaurant Sign

Making fish cakes

Making fish cakes

Whenever we visit Don Wai market we eat duck noodles at this riverside restaurant. You’ll recognize it by the sign (it’s to the right, riverside, as you stroll the aisles) and also by the huge wok out front, usually with someone frying up delicious fish cakes.

Duck Noodles

Duck Noodles

A plate of fish cakes

A plate of fish cakes

These photos show what we often have for lunch at the riverside restaurant.

Sweets

Sweets

There are a wide variety of sweets (kanom wahn) available at Don Wai, as at all Thai markets. (See Michael’s blog on Thai sweet snacks.) They range from Thai coconut treats to Chinese sweets such as these.


Readers of this blog know that we love to visit markets in Thailand. We’ve blogged already on two of our favorites:


Written by Michael Babcock, January 2010

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4 Responses to “Don Wai Market”

  1. […] the picture above left and a cucumber relish/salad, which is not pictured. This photo was taken at Don Wai Market in Nakhon Pathom province; The very first picture in this blog shows a young woman frying these […]

  2. […] in some of the larger gourmet fresh markets in or near Bangkok, like Aw Taw Kaw (Or Tor Kor) and Don Wai, either already packaged in plastic bags or sold bulk in big piles. The pla som made by Kamnan Jun […]

  3. […] Don Wai was about 30 minutes outside of town, behind a large temple located on the Nakon Chaisi River. And it was full of Bangkok residents all eagerly going to the suburbs to get a taste of market food. […]

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