Welcome to week 212 of Travel Photo Thursday. Join me on a photographic journey of one of Chiang Mai’s smallest (but perhaps, liveliest) traditional markets; Somphet Market. Locals come to gossip, purchase local fruit and vegetables, sell their goods, and rub elbows with the tourists dropping by to experience the real Chiang Mai before heading off to cooking class.
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Located at the start of Thanon Moon Mueng Soi 6, directly opposite the city’s historic moat, the market is a bustling jumble of stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, traditional Thai food (think curry, pork, and sausage), fish, meat, and even a few pairs of traditional Thai pants thrown in for good measure.
Popularly known as Somphet Market, as you an see from this sign, it’s “official name is Ming Muang Market. I’m not sure how long the market has been in existence, but if you wander to the back you will find a recent addition, a small museum featuring historic photos of the market and other related paraphernalia. Definitely worth a browse, and you will probably find out how old Somphet actually is!
Fish on the grill welcomes you…
A cornucopia of delicious local fruit at ridiculously low prices. Here we have avocado (think $1.00 each), a bunch of bananas will set you back about fifty cents, my favorite dragon fruit, and sweet juicy mangoes. Look to the back of the mango photo and you’ll see a bag that looks like it contains doughnuts. Actually, those are fresh tamarinds. You break the skin, and the fruit inside is sweet and sticky (reminds me of dates). Tamarind juice is often used in Thai cooking.
Almost every Thai dish will have lime as an ingredient, and most Thai food is served with a piece or two of lime on the side. In the second photo you have mangosteen at the front. When you open the fruit you will find a sweet white fruit that grows naturally in sections. I’m not sure what the fruit is that is behind the mangosteens. The mangosteen is probably one of the more expensive Thai fruit. A bag this size is selling for a little over five dollars (U.S.)
If you’d like to take some fruit home for your family and friends to sample, think dried. Dried fruit is a big industry here, and while more expensive than the fresh it’s still affordable and delicious. Sometimes you’ll even find some dried without sugar! (Read the labels carefully.)
Delicious moo ping… (moo is pork). This is a popular breakfast food. It’s often sold from carts on the street with a small bag of sticky rice. Prices run between 5 and 10 baht per piece. This is one of my favorites! At the back on the right is sour sausage. This is a Northern Thailand delicacy, and I highly recommend that if you have the opportunity give it a try!
Purchasing fruit from friendly vendors. In front of the lady in the blue apron you can see packages of prepared fruit. Prices ranges from 10 to 25 baht and are an easy way to sample what’s on offer.
Fresh herbs and veggies…(I think the one with the yellow flower is morning glory. Delicious fried in oyster sauce!)
Prepared Thai food for lunch or dinner…
This fresh meat vendor would be happy to sell you some fresh meat to prepare for lunch or dinner…
Of course, we can’t forget dessert. Thai desserts are yummy, but think sweet…VERY SWEET!
Perhaps a pair of traditional Thai pants…loads of colors to choose from…
Don’t miss Tip’s Smoothies made to order…delicious and cheap!
The market opens early, but the hustle and bustle usually starts after 8am with the first arrival of the cooking class students. Things close up early evening, around 6pm. Somphet Market is open everyday of the year. Don’t forget to check out the small museum at the back, which will give you a great history lesson in photos.
Have you been to Somphet Market, or any other Thai market? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
This is the 212th edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.
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