Friday, March 4, 2011

An afternoon out of Bangkok to Sam Chuk's Hundred Year Old Market

This post is long overdue. Work's still overwhelming, and I just got back from a fulfilling trip to Singapore, meeting with some great old friends, attending my sister-in-law's wedding and even playing basketball after more than 10 years with the exact people who made me love the game. Among the countless things to blog about, I realised my visit to Samchuk Market (around 2 hours drive away from Bangkok) is something I just can't deprive you of.

Firstly, I would like to thank Xinyi, Par and May for inviting Li Li and myself to this place which I have not heard of. I like to visit authentic spots where Thai people set up to service fellow Thais, and by seeing just 1 caucasian during the entire trip, what better place could there be?

Actually, the most impressive part is the entire ambience of the place. It still has the rustic old street market feel, but yet well-paved walkways and cleanliness makes it a breeze for anyone to spend an entire day there without finding any excuse to head home early. However, we do recommend you to either visit in the morning or after 3pm to avoid the scorching mid-day sun.

These charcoal irons were the first things which caught my eyes at the market.
There were many stalls selling old-fashioned kitchenware like these

To be really honest, the whole Samchuk experience would not be complete without the food. The colour and the vibrance of the traditional delicacies would brighten anyone's day, especially if you couple it with the energy of the vendors too.

I do hope my collage does the food justice.

Amongst the limitless choices of food on display, I would point you to 2 must-try specialties:

What are those monsters? Coconuts?
No! They are gigantic meatballs!

These meatballs are REALLY HUGE. They are reputed to weigh around 1 kg each (the normal steak we eat at a steakhouse weighs around 350g). They really do taste like normal meatballs, just enormous.


The next one everyone should try is the Kao Ho Baay Bua, which translates to Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf. Though it doesn't taste spectacular enough to make you go 'wow', a picture of this pretty little thing plus a firm handshake with the friendly middle-aged cowboy who owns the stall will make your foray worthwhile.


My favourite of the day has to go to this coffeeshop, who uses charcoal to brew the most fragrant and buttery cup of coffee you can ever find.

Aside of wandering aimlessly round the market looking for our next bite, we also took a short boat ride along the tranquil Tha Ching River, still relatively undisturbed by the rapid global urbanisation.


It's where villagers still do their laundry by the river
 As the ferry moved along, I can't help playing a fool again. Looking around for inspiration, I spotted a nice green curtain for me to pose for beautiful picture.


Like a professional, I tidied my hair, pushing any loose strands behind my ears.
Pose!
Oh my goodness, what has a year and a half in Thailand done to me!??!! Luckily I now have a wife to constantly remind me that I am actually a man, haha!

I would like to end off by saying that I really did not expect much from Sam Chuk Market initially, and had my doubts to whether it was worth it to spend 4 hours travelling to and from Bangkok to experience it. However, after the visit, I love it so much that I am sure I will be back soon, before another fake Floating Market and international visitors take over, though I really hope it does not happen.

The weekend getaway gang, so where next?

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