Wednesday, August 12, 2015

To Market, To Market...... Bangkok Market

When fellow Dad blogger David told me about this blog train, I felt it would be a refreshing change to bring interested readers from Singapore to Bangkok, but if you are here expecting to read about famous markets like Chatuchak Weekend Market or the Rodfai Night Market, prepare to be disappointed, because I will only be bringing you for a brief walk at the wet market near my apartment.

I was born and raised in Singapore, living there for 28 years before relocating permanently to Bangkok. My mum was a housewife and I am the youngest child in the house, so I was with her everywhere she went, including the neighbourhood market (we patronized Bukit Timah Market, most famous for their fried carrot cake and satay beehoon). Aside of acting as my mum's companion, I had a more noble responsibility, which was to carry her 'loot'. I did such a great job, that long after my mum went back to Malaysia, I was still patronizing the same stalls at the market by myself, getting the same 'perks' as my mum.

Fast forward to 2015, I am now already a father of 2 little children, both born in Bangkok, Thailand. That said, my frequent visits to the wet market have not stopped, even if I live in a different country now. I do purchase a lot of beautiful organic vegetables and additive-free meat from various supermarkets, but when it comes to fresh fish and seafood, the best option is still at the wet market.

2 of the fishmongers I frequent, only available by the road a few hours every morning
While all markets in Singapore are situated in proper buildings these days, wet markets in Bangkok are frequently made up of temporary roadside stalls, which sell the usual wet market groceries in the day, and delicious cooked food at night for the dinner/supper crowd.

If you wake up early enough, there will be a sight which you will probably never get to see in Singapore.

Temporary stalls selling alms for monks
A common sight in the morning
Once the monks are out (slightly before 7am), don't be surprised if you see anyone stopping anywhere to offer alms. If you are a tourist, this is really a good time and place to fully soak yourself in an important piece of Thai culture. My reminder to all women is that you should be extra careful and never ever touch a monk as it's considered a form of disrespect.

There is another part of the market which is inside a building
Inside the building, not too dissimilar to Singapore.
My market also has a covered area with permanent stalls. Without going into detail, I can say that it's not too different from what we have in Singapore, with usual suspects like egg stalls, tofu/noodle stalls, dry goods stalls, pork/beef/chicken stalls and of course lots of vegetable stalls. However, I would like to zero in on 1 particular stall that might raise the eyebrows of many Aunties out there.

Taadaaa! Freshly-made popiah skin!! Envious? Jeles?

Like mother like son, I am also training my own market assistant in-house. Despite his nostrils being much nearer to the dirty drains than mine, I have been bringing Noah to the market with me since he was a little baby.

These are shrimp, little boy, shrimp.

A penny for your thoughts?

Look at the stall-owner's smile!

My little helper

Noah has been soaking everything in brilliantly so far, in fact, currently it is me who is trying not to bring him too often as I am quietly worried about him throwing tantrums when I refuse to carry him during the walk back home (when I have already purchased my load of groceries). Hopefully with my 'training', the tradition of patronizing wet markets for the freshest produce will continue in my family, transcending generations and geographical location.

Tomorrow, Debra will be sharing about her neighbourhood Shunfu Market at Olimomok

Debra is mum to three young boys, and shares about their growing up moments, fun family experiences and her parenting journey on her blog. She also loves planning parties, so check out her party posts if you are looking for ideas. Remember to hop on over to Olimomok tomorrow!



  1. I think it's cool to bring our little ones to the wet market because the sights, sounds and smells are so enriching. Thanks for bringing us on a tour of this wet market in Bangkok. The fresh popiah skin stall must be popular among housewives! :D I'm curious to know if they have a separate 'hawker' section like our markets or are they housed in small coffeeshops?

    1. Hello Angie

      Bangkok wet markets are pretty random. OK the sheltered area is permanent, but most people actually shop at the temporary stalls that pop up beside the roads like the fish one I showed.

      All these pop up stalls are very random. When they come, they are at the same location, but they come as and when they like. Weekends will see more stalls. And you won't be surprised to find a fish stall beside a grilled pork stall beside a vege stall beside an economic rice stall. Lol.

  2. Just curious, do you converse in Thai or English? What are the challenges in bridging two cultures/languages in the Market?


    1. Hello Andy

      Good question. Actually at the beginning it was a bit difficult, but as most tourists will realise, thais are more than willing to help anyone regardless of the language they speak.

      However, after my mum came, I realised I should have started trying my luck in Chinese instead of English, and many middle-aged vendors are actually ethnic Chinese who could understand mandarin.

      Interesting point to take note of!



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