Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wild Week Day One: To Market To Market To Buy A Fat Pig (Head)

For those of you viewing on your iPhone...no, that isn't rotini pasta - those are worm larvae for sale!

Welcome to Wild Week!  It is day one of introducing you to some of the wilder things about living here in Thailand.  Don't be expecting an exhaustive list of everything wild here.  Hey, I am a stay-at-home mom who doesn't get paid to blog...so expect a view of real-life rather than a travel guide to all of the Land of Smiles.

What's more real-life than a trip to my local market?  (Warning...you might either want to punch me in the face for rubbing it in about the perks we get here - OR your stomach might turn instead at the more...interesting options we have available)  

The fresh/prepared/cooked food side of the market

A salad bar in the market?  Why, sure!  But, I think I'll pass up the barley, taro, and candied fruits as toppings.  I bought my dinner here last night...

Lettuce leaves, tomatoes, carrots, apple slices and pumpkin...all for 80 cents!

This lady sells Som Tam, papaya salad...a family favorite (as long as it isn't too spicy)!

She uses a mortar and pestle to mix up the shredded papaya, tomatoes, peanuts, dried shrimp, shrimp paste, fish sauce, lime juice, chili peppers and other seasonings.  Awesome!

Steam buns (with black bean, cream, meat and other types of fillings)!

Here's where you might punch me in the face...Thailand grows some of the most delicious fruit on the planet!  Recognize any of this?  Mangoes, apples, grapes...and, what else?

Some fruits (in the front row) you might not recognize...mangosteen (my absolute favorite fruit to eat here), dragon fruit, and rambutan.

Rambutan gets my vote for the oddest looking fruit.  But, our family loves it!  You should look for it at the Asian market in your town.

The mango sticky rice I bought last night - you top it with a sweet, coconut sauce and eat till you're fat.  Amazing!  This cost me a dollar!

Here, almost on every street and definitely at every market, you can find fresh cut fruit in convenient to-go bags for cheap!  These are about 60 cents.  Seriously?  Don't mind if I do!

If you can grill it, you can sell it.  Here are whole fish, banana leaf-wrapped fish, entrails (from what?), and bar-b-q'ed pork on a stick!

All sorts of snacks for sale...popcorn, cakes, cookies, chips - you name it!

Because the market is open-air, all sorts of flying bugs are attracted to the food - so people rig plastic bags onto fans swirling above the food and save their energy from swatting away food-spoilers.  Genius!

One of our favorite dishes, steamed fish with a sour lime, chili and garlic sauce.  Seriously awesome!  

Vegetables here are cheap and plentiful.

These are conveniently-wrapped packs of cilantro and chive onions selling for about 16 cents.

Fish, anyone?

All the curry and chili sauces you need to make anything Thai - sold in bulk.

Another family fav - fried fish with garlic.  The kids are currently having a fish-eye eating contest.  No surprise; Jeshurun is winning.  I actually tried fish-tail the other night and it wasn't too bad.  You don't waste anything here!  ;)

Tables and tables full of pork rinds.  The pig on the sticker looks unbelievably happy to become a snack food.

Onto the raw meat section...a pregnant, apron-clad woman was cutting up slices of cow as I entered.  Yum.

Various entrails.

Pig head or leg, anyone?

Fermented vegetables!  Surprisingly really awesome-tasting with curry.  

The infamous Durian fruit.  This fruit is so smelly (almost like something rotten), that it is not allowed to be consumed in some hotels and malls (because it would offend other customers)?  I have had it once, and that is enough for me!  Some say it is an acquired taste. 

I finished my market tour by purchasing half a rotisserie chicken for dinner last night.  A whole one costs just over 3 dollars, and they are delicious.  This place also sells fried chicken, chicken nuggets and other meat-on-a-stick.  

That's it for today!  I hope your eyes have feasted on some of the wonderful (and some, arguably, not so wonderful) wild things for sale at the market here in Thailand.  To each his own, right?

Tomorrow - I will post part two of wild (but ordinary for here!) food here in the restaurants and street vendors of Thailand.

(If you have a strong stomach and want to brave even wilder market foods, check out this article about an episode of Bizarre Foods from rural northeastern Thailand.  Just don't read it right before a meal - you'll thank me!)

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