To Market, To Market

                    To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
                    Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
                    To market, to market, to buy a fat hog,
                    Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.

I quickly fell into the habit of eating out when I moved to Thailand. Street food is cheap, crazy good, and literally everywhere. Over time, I learned my way around and developed an impressive list of favorite restaurants, too, including Italian, vegetarian, Middle Eastern, and Burmese. And then there’s Meals On Wheels 4U, a delivery service that brings food from 120 of Chiang Mai’s best restaurants directly to my door for a 90-baht service charge (about $2.69).  Best of all–I can pay with a credit card and earns miles or points. You know I love that!

maxresdefault
Street Food

In my defense, the thought of cooking was overwhelming in the beginning. My little Thai kitchen was poorly equipped, and grocery stores freaked me out. So I went for easy. Fried chicken, khao man gai, pad thai, mango sticky rice, Thai iced tea, banana blossom fritters, and khao soi became as familiar as a burger and fries.

Chiang Mai 2011 (184) Blog
Delivery

 

Well, it’s been six months now and I’m tired of eating the same things over and over. Besides, I don’t always know exactly what I’m eating. Until my Thai improves, that’s not going to change. MSG? Probably. Blood products? Could be. Chopped-up baby critters (shell and all) with gray pincers in my salad dressing? That happened.

The Tipping Point

Not long after noticing that my jeans were getting a little tight, I serendipitously stumbled upon Siri Wattana Market, ‘Kad Thanin’ to the people of Chiang Mai.  Here under one gigantic roof was a breathtakingly wide range of fresh food–vegetables, fruits, and cooked foods, including northern Thai dishes, desserts, and snacks. Amidst the festive vibe of a state fair, I found enough fish, poultry, and meat to stock a cruise ship. The atmosphere was open and friendly, the isles wide, and everything was beautifully organized and displayed. A feeling of nostalgia overcame me as I recalled many happy childhood days in my father’s grocery store, The Green Front.

 

By the time I found Kad Thanin I had developed a serious love affair with the fruit available in Thailand. In the early days, I didn’t know a dragon fruit from a purple mangosteen.  Now, routinely enjoying things like durian, mango, passion fruit, papaya, rambutan, lychee, kiwi, and custard apples, I had found a market that had them all!

I’ve slowly picked up the kitchen things I need (steamer, stock pot, tea kettle, sharp knives) and have a Thai housekeeper to help me.  As I write this, I’m sipping a delicious drink of jiaogulan and safflower and cooking a batch of fat-burning soup (because jeans). I bought the ingredients at my newly-discovered market and only made one mistake. I accidentally bought lemongrass, thinking it was spring onions.  How’s that for irony?

31aT5rVS2yL._SX355_

3 comments

  1. Nice blog. Seriously, you are going to cook???? I have also gained wight in retirement–having to count carbs. I so remember your wonderful Dad and what a treat it was to go to The Green Front–I always left with a treat!!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s