Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Maekloong Railway Market, Bangkok

It was one of those "aha" moments when I realized that our Guide Leena had brought us to a market which I had seen while watching Anthony Bourdain on the Food Network. 

Wow, here we stood about to enter this sprawling market which I had seen described so vividly by Mr. Bourdain.  It was everything he talked about and more.

If you look closely you will see that the train tracks run right down the middle of the people selling their home grown and fresh caught items in small stalls covered with canvas, which retracts as the train arrives.  Yep, the train arrives.  Eight times a day to be exact.  When they hear it coming, the slide their goods (which they have on rollers) back away from the track and fold the canvas back so that the train may stop to allow passengers to embark/disembark.  Mr. Bourdain got off the train and tried some of the local street foods when he was visiting.  There are all kinds of beautiful fresh vegetables and fruits available.  Some of them were very familiar, some I had never seen before.  The variety was mind boggling.  This little lady is displaying the goods which she has brought to market for sale today from her own farm.  When she has sold what she has brought, she will go home for the day.

 The market is very busy, crowded, noisy, smelly and HOT!  As we progresed further down the tracks, we came to the area where most of the meats and fish were sold.  There was every kind of meat, offal, fish, shrimp, crab and protein you could possibly imagine.  Some was freshly cut and some was dried.  Dried fish and shrimp are commonly used in cooking in Thailand and other Far Eastern countries.  The first time I had tasted dried shrimp was when it had been prepared for me by a Vietnamese neighbor. 
She actually stir fried it in cauliflower and green beans, and although it was rather strong in odor, it had a wonderful flavor!

See the little shark in the picture at is favored here.  There are also rays and numerous types of fish.  Cost here is very inexpensive, as most of the locals shop here for their goods.
 Once again, I came across the Rhambutan, and couldn't resist buying some of those as well as the Mangosteen for a snack.  Delicious little devils!  Yeah, I know, street food....honestly...we never got sick from any of it!
 Large shrimp and squid were abundant at the market also.
 Crabs anyone?  These appear to closely resemble our Blue Crabs at home, and when I had some "fried" Szchuan crab in a local restaurant, it tasted pretty much the same too!
 There are also individuals selling cooked foods and the little man here is actually shelling "snails" better known in some circles as escargot!
 Although the odors were overwhelming at times, most of the meats and seafoods displayed appeared to be quite fresh.  Melanie nearly fainted when she saw a "pig face" ... which had been removed from the bony skull and appeared to be smiling at us!
 There really seems to be quite a large assortment of shellfish in the market, which I guess shouldn't be surprising given our close proximity to the sea.  Mussels, clams, shrimp, crabs, squid and octopus are all available here.
These are small bamboo baskets filled with smoked mullet.  This is apparently a staple in the area.  It was tempting to try, but on this occasion, with the smells and all, I declined.

We had walked quite a ways down the tracks before we exited back out on a main street, jammed with people shopping and scurrying about.

This lady street vendor was making a kind of rice "pancake" in the mold you see her pouring into..then they pour sweet coconut sauce over it.  She said it is a great way to get the children to eat their rice!

Another vendor beside her was selling rice crisps - kind of an extra light, flaky chip like thing - flavored in shrimp, crab or fish.  I tasted all of them, and actually bought a bag of the shrimp crisps to consume later.  They were very light, non-greasy and flavorful. 

This was another dessert like item being sold on the street. From the best I could understand they were made of mangoes, rice and coconut. 

We had a wonderful time exploring the market, and it was still early in the day when we climbed back in with our driver to head for the next destination...a coconut processing area. 

GOD BLESS - Peace, Love and Joy

No comments:

Post a Comment