Tales of Opium and Red Rice Wine In Chaing Mai

Posted by on Jan 7, 2012 in Thailand - Chiang Mai, Uncategorized | 9 comments

Yesterday day I went to the Chin Haw Market in Chiang Mai…and I loved every second. Set-up next to the local mosque, the market starts in the wee hours (6am) and packs up at around noon hour. You can probably buy just about anything here. Locals seem to come for the fresh produce, and local “fast food”. Two of my finds (with the help of a friend) were the opium milk (gasp) and red rice wine. I had to buy a bag of each for research purposes 🙂

This morning (I know, can’t understand why I didn’t rip open the bag the minute I got back to my room) I cautiously opened the opium milk. Snff, sniff…smells like milk; not as white as regular milk. Almost holding my breath, I took a swallow…welllll…………not too bad; a little sour. Not something I could drink daily, but I think one could acquire a taste. I’m sure you’re all wondering if I got HIGH………..I only sipped a little so NO, and I was assured by my friend that the stuff would not put me into LALA Land. Apparently this is the milk produced after the water buffalos eat the poppy stalks after harvest. I’m not sure what it is used for, and hopefully Ms. Goggle can come up with an answer someday soon.

The Milk…..

Opium Water Buffalo Milk, Chin Hwa Market, Chiang Mai

Now for the red rice wine, and you’re probably thinking red wine in a bottle made from rice…NOT EXACTLY. You buy this in a plastic bag (sound familiar). The rice is red and sitting in liquid. Cautiously opening the bag, I immediately was hit with the pungent odor of, what else?…WINE. A sample proved that indeed the rice does taste like wine. Again, not sure what this is used for. Ms. Goggle will be working overtime later today or tomorrow!

The Wine…

Red Rice Wine, Chin Haw Market, Chiang Mai


Red Rice Wine, Chiang Mai

This is just a touch of what the Haw market offers. I will be back with a more in depth post just as soon as I stop gallivanting all over Chiang Mai!

Now, what should I do with my research samples??

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  1. Very strange looking, Nancie, but a very interesting post. The opium milk remimds me of drinking coca tea in the north of Chile in the Andean highlands many years ago. It combats altitude sickness, and is perfectly legal there. It tastes rather like a bitter Chinese tea.

    Keep on having fun in Chaing Mai!

    • Coca tea would be interesting to try. If I ever make it to Chile, it will be on my list.

      The adventure here in CM continues non-stop!

      Happy New Year!

  2. The market sounds great. One of our travel ‘favorites’ is finding the local market and sampline the local creations. . .think you win on this one with the most interesting finds!

    • Hi Jackie…This was just an amazing little market. Believe it or not, even though it is just barely a few steps away from the tourist trail few tourists make it there. I love markets too, and this one definitely tops the list for me.

  3. A bit odd, however piqued our interest. We’re very interested to find out what each are used for and what meals are prepared using opium milk or wine rice.

    • Definitely odd! I’ll be at the market again this Friday and will be asking around about these items.

  4. Red Rice Wine! OMG…I can only imagine how this looks and tastes…

  5. How cool! I look forward to trying some one day.

  6. Wow! I want to try this one, it looks great and delicious!

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