Imagine only having a moment to uproot the your storefront. Picture the frenzy as proprietors scoop up their fish heads, bamboo shoots, salted frogs, jackfruit and leafy greens in preparation for the trains. Eight times a day shop owners have to shutter their wares as a freight train races through the Meaklong Market, wrecking havoc and shaking ground. Cha Cha tells me that the poorer proprietors set up shop on the tracks as the rental fee is cheaper than the indoor stands, and while the shop owners are used to the routine and time their movements to precision, there’s always the risk of human error, of losing a bucket of fresh fish on the tracks. Such is the draw to Meaklong Market, located an hour’s drive from Bangkok.
Sensing that I care more about local delicacies and scoring saffron on the cheap than silk scarves and trinkets, Cha Cha creates a jam-packed day of local food markets in the Thai countryside. You would have mistook me for a paparazzi I took so many pictures. Who could resist dried frogs? Fish heads hacked with machetes? Dried grasshopper and boxes of mangos a mile long? Amidst the expansive fish and meat market (believe me when I say that I couldn’t identify HALF OF WHAT IS IN SAID MARKET, and thank god for a patient Cha Cha as I inquired about random organs and obscure mollusks), I was smitten with the spices and curries and cracked peppers and coconut cane sugar. Imagine 1/2 lb of saffron for SIX BUCKS! Bags of spicy Thai chilis for THREE BUCKS! I only pray that I don’t get frisked for my loot when I beg my way through customs.
But what I loved most was the JACKFRUIT. YOU GUYS. THE JACKFRUIT IS MY EVERYTHING. IT IS THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS. IT IS A CUTER MANGO. I hoovered jackfruit like it was going out of style. I consumed dried jackfruit mixed with coconut and dried chilis, and the combination of the sweet and the spicy was unbelievable.
I NEARLY PASSED OUT. Shaking my fists, I shouted, CHA CHA, I am so upset that I can only have jackfruit in Thailand!!!
How is it that I don’t live in ASIA?
Coconut pancakes are delicious.
Yes, my friends. Those are indeed FROGS.
I scored a bag of these hot chilis!
Miniature clams stewed in red curry and chilis.
Holy mini crabs!
My only kale sighting. Apparently my beloved cruciferous green is not big in Thailand.
Dried and salted fish are HUGE in Thai cuisine. Cha Cha prepares this with some oil over a bowl of jasmin rice.
Look at the beautiful shells! I don’t like mussels, but I couldn’t resist taking this photo.
One must have a strong stomach to endure seeing live fish butchered. It was disturbing. Suffice it to say, I spared you the MEAT.
Cha Cha! Are these massive insects?! Cha Cha laughed and said they are very cheap fish.