So Saturday night I found out about the Chatuchak Weekend Market, which, as you guessed, only happens on weekends. It is the largest market in Southeast Asia, so of course I couldn’t miss it. I took the Sky Train there, which was super clean, easy, efficient, and cheap. They get about 200,000 visitors a day, 30% of which are foreign. The place was so completely massive, I wandered around for hours and still only had the slightest sense of orientation by the end of it. There’s a map, but it’s almost entirely useless because it doesn’t give you any sense of scale. The market sells literally everything, as you’ll see below. The map has sections for “instant food,” “amulets,” “painting,” “animal food,” “creature,” and “cock fighting,” not to mention lots of more normal categories like “artificial flower,” “odds and ends” and “garden equipments.” I’m not quite sure of the difference between fresh food and fruits and vegetables, or between cooked food and instant food, but rice is important enough to get its own category. After the market I headed back to the hostel to shower and rest for a bit, before heading to the Patpong Night Market and to some street vendors for dinner.
I’m going to try to include prices where I can, so you can get a sense of what things cost. At the current exchange rate, $1 = 35 baht. And just so you don’t think I’ve even more of a glutton than I actually am, I’m putting a star * next to the foods I actually ate, so you can tell them apart from the ones I was just eyeing. 🙂
My favorite thing about Thai food is the contrast. I’ve always loved the mix of salty and sweet (chocolate covered pretzels, apples or bananas with peanut butter, sea salt caramel, etc.) And here, unlike in the US, savory food isn’t just savory, and desserts aren’t just sweet. They all have a mix of flavors, so that a sweet dessert is topped with salty coconut, or a hot dog is rolled in a sweet crepe, instead of an American hot dog bun. Pad thai, arguably Thailand’s most popular dish isn’t just noodles and a protein, it’s got a combination of flavors and textures: tangy tamarind paste, tart vinegar, spicy chili, crunchy peanuts, funky fish sauce, and sweet coconut sugar, among other things. I’m lucky I’ve been walking for miles….
There are arrows marked on the ground at the Sky Train stops, designating where to stand, so that when the train comes in, the area is clear for people to get off, and explains where the lines of people waiting should enter.
And miracle of miracles, Thai people actually use them!
It’s lovely and orderly, which is completely different than subways in the US, or even the Thai streets
Random observation: Thai people don’t wear sunglasses.
Even on the way into the market there were stalls of all kinds, including an incredible looking row of food
The market was really crowded, and sells literally everything
There’s an entire section of “creatures” and they mean it, they have every pet you could think of. A lot of vendors don’t allow photographs though.
Not pictured: three million other adorable puppies, dogs big enough to saddle, kittens, snakes, flying squirrels, sugar gliders, mice, rats, and various other unrecognizable rodents…
Turns out those bugs might’ve been people food!