I love markets. I especially love local markets which are untouched by tourism-- where nobody speaks English and I can barely tell what's going on. I think that they're the best way to get to know a people. What do they cook and eat everyday? What do the farmers grow around the area, what do the fishermen catch? How much does it cost to feed a family? A market can reveal all these things and more.
On 13 June 2013, we were trying to catch a songthaew (a sort of taxi) from Holiday Inn Chiang Mai to Anusan Night Market when we saw a nameless temporary market being set up in a vacant lot. Of course we had to investigate.
As with all of the Thai markets that I've visited, there were the usual suspects. Such as the skewer lady,
the braised pork leg lady,
the curry lady,
and the fried pork rind lady.
Everything looked so good! I would have liked to gobble my way through the market stalls, but I had my heart set on Anusan that evening.
However, Hot Tuna couldn't resist and bought a bag of cockles for noshing while browsing.
This particular market had a great mix of ready-to-eat food, as well as the raw materials for cooking up a great meal at home, like seafood, mushrooms and veggies.
How about some tom yum? Just grab a bundle of lemongrass, kaffir and galangal, and throw it into a pot of boiling water.
There was some unusual stuff that I was very excited to see. Check out the whole grilled frogs, each as big as my hand. One stall sold beautiful purple corn and another had chickens with the skinniest breasts I'd ever seen.
I guess Western tastes are being adopted everywhere now, even in small towns. And Chiang Mai is not exactly a small town, having been invaded by Starbucks, Burger King and McDonald's. These two purveyors were doing brisk business with an international flair: the crepe guy and the sushi lady.
A good local market is a wondrous place. It's a treasure chest, a feast for the senses, and a veritable slice of life.