A Chef’s Tour: Oldest Market in Bangkok

A Chef’s Tour: Oldest Market in Bangkok

You know that I love food and Bangkok is the place to be if you are like me. The problem is that I do not speak or read Thai, so it becomes slightly more complicated if you want to try  offerings from the street food vendors , unless you know what kind of dish they are cooking. When I find myself in a situation like that I usually book a food tour as this is the best way to try local specialities under the guidance of a local and knowledgeable person. 

I got lucky in Bangkok as I went on “A Chef’s Tour” and we were guided by a chef and a food lover Nutth. He was very softly spoken and knew a wealth of information about the vendors we visited. 

We started off with a little ride on the canal, using public boat, and then jumped on the bus to experience the way locals move around the city.

Our first snack of the day was sticky rice cooked in banana leaf and fried bananas, which were crispy on the outside , but warm and custardy inside. It was such a great combination of textures!

Our main stop and eating ground on this tour was Nang Loeng Market, which is considered the oldest market in Bangkok. It is not very big and it is mostly food vendors, as the market is very popular during the week with workers, who are based nearby. 

Ok, let’s go and have a look what delicacies we managed to try. A word of warning: this is only a small selection of foods that we tried, so please come hungry!

Roast pork and duck from a third generation shop

Nutth shared that his father took him to this restaurant since he was very young, and the place has been going on for more than a hundred years.

They do not serve anything else in this shop apart from roast pork and roast duck, which again speaks volume to me.

I honestly wanted to cry- this is how good it was, the pork was insanely crispy and duck was tender and full of flavour. They serve it with non-spicy chillies, which are crunchy, and it again adds to the texture experience of the dish. 

A snack of egg pancake with various fillings – Kanom Bueang Yuan

The lady only cooks two dishes at her stall, one version with a crispy pancake, the other with the soft one and addition of egg.  The inside is made of shredded coconut, dried shrimps, peanuts and sweet radish. The pancake is served with a spicy dressing made with cucumbers and shallots.

I loved this dish as it offered a combination of soft pancake and savoury sweet filling with a sharp contrast of the dressing and crunchy cucumbers. 50 Baht for this beauty.

During our tour we saw a lot of vendors, who cook only one particular dish, and they have been doing it for years. When I asked Nutth whether they are passing their craft to someone else, he mentioned that it is not likely that the young people would want to repeat their paths. This is a real pity, as I am sure, some of the dishes will disappear in 30-40 years if no-one else learns now how to do them in a traditional way.

There was one lady, who was doing the sweets at the front of her house for many years now.  She gets up at 4am or so, cooks the sweets and then vendors pick it up from here for sale. She is done and dusted by noon. I very much hope that someone will learn her art of making sweets , otherwise these delightful coconut and pandan rabbits will disappear like an endangered animal. 

Rice and Curry stall 

They cook a whole variety of curries every single day, you probably need couple of weeks to try everything on display. We settled on frog curry (yep, you read it right – frog!), aubergine dip, stink bean curry with prawns and tamarind dip with cucumbers. I did not like frog curry,  but all the other dishes were very unusual and the selection was certainly not something that I would have chosen myself.

Thai sweets and fresh fruit 

Sweets were really sweet, and one of them had numerous layers. Nutth told us that usually one piece is ordered  and shared with your friends or family by peeling the layer after layer. 

Fruits were also a highlight, as some of them I have never tried – I loved the snake fruit and longan. 

Apart from trying different foods, Nutth talked us through some of the ingredients and cooking methods.

Once the tour finished, I felt I learned loads and was now more confident at approaching other stalls and trying to guess what they were cooking, as I might have seen something similar already and would have been able to judge if I would like it or not.

The tour lasted good 3 hours and my only regret is that I did not have a bigger space in my stomach. It is not possible to finish all of the dishes, but temptation is high, because they are so tasty.

I also loved booking process as it was very easy and all my questions were answered very quickly and to the point.

“A Chef’s Tour” also offers tours in Malaysia, India, Hong Kong, Singapore  Japan, Colombia and Mexico.  Definitely check them out if you are travelling to any of these destinations, I firmly believe that local knowledge is power and if you are a food lover you will be in heaven with “A Chef’s Tour”!

I was hosted by ” A Chef’s Tour”, but all opinions are my own.

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