Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Food Tripping in Bangkok

Back in Bangkok!  One of my favorite food cities in the world.  And this time, I'm on a food tour!

Pinoy Eats World has been expanding their global tours, and I was lucky enough to be around to catch this one.  In comparison to my past trips to Thailand, this was mostly casual and filled with markets and local joints.  I love that you can go back to this city multiple times and it can always be a different kind of trip - luxurious and pampered, casual, historical, architectural, Hangover Part II.. take your pick.

In these next two weeks and in these next four updates, I'll be showing you the markets, the local eats, and a couple of the nicer restaurants we were taken to over the course of a weekend trip.


First up, markets and street eats!

When I was younger, touring cities included museums, churches, department stores, and restaurants.  These days when I travel, I tend to bypass the churches, temples, and pagodas.  If I really need a filler for time, then I'll look into museums.  If I'm in a shopping mood (which doesn't happen frequently), then I'll check out the department stores.

Instead, I love focusing my trips on the local foods and drinks.  Markets, food halls, cooking classes, and local restaurants and bars.  These are my museums and my cultural tours.

On this trip, we were taken to 4 markets, including 2 food markets and a night market.

Jatujak (or Chatuchak) Market.  If you're into outdoor markets full of everything from A-Z, this is your place.  Get ready to bargain!... But for me, I just came from the states where I filled my luggage with clothes from Gilt.com and Zappos.com (shameless plug promoting a couple of my favorite online shopping sites.), so shopping wasn't on my mind for the weekend.

Or Tor Kor Market, one of the cities nicest food markets, right next to Jatujak.  I first went here a couple years ago prior to a cooking class.  I'm so impressed with how this is such a clean dry & wet market.  If I lived in Bangkok, I'd buy a lot of my fruits and produce here for my weekly meals.  You can also stop for a bite, which I highly recommend.  These vendors are using the freshest ingredients straight from this market.

Amphawa Floating Market.  Located near the Gulf of Thailand, it's a bit of a drive from the city.  We enjoyed an afternoon leisurely strolling by each of the vendors, nibbling on local treats, and taking in the sights of locals and tourists.  I love seeing the food boats - that's way cooler than the food trucks in the states!  Each little wooden boat had their own specialty - papaya salad, grilled seafood, fried rice, noodles, etc.  If you have an extra afternoon or night, and you want to visit this afternoon floating market, it stays open through the early morning on weekends as well.  You can also grab a boat at night to enjoy the river and the fireflies whizzing around.

Soi 38 Night Market.  In Thai culture, you have frequent mini meals throughout the day.  That means you have a dinner part 1 followed by a dinner part 2 later in the evening.  So when in Bangkok, eat all the time.  After a big meal, we were taken to Soi 38 for more savory bites and some memorable sticky rice and coconut milk with mango.  I love watching the vendors cook up your orders in high heat, so quickly, and with such passion.

Thais love their food, and it's always such a pleasure to dine with them in their country.

If you can't see the slideshow, check out my Flickr album: Market/Street Eats

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