Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chiang Mai's Neverending Sunday Market

Without planning, we luckily ended up arriving in Chiang Mai on a Sunday afternoon.  This meant we were just in time for the Sunday market.  Visiting markets is one of my top favorite things to do when touring a new place, so I was very excited when finding out we were going to be there for this one (even then I had no idea what it had in store). Keep in mind, there is also a night market in Chiang Mai that is open every night on the sidewalk, but the Sunday market is something else and something special. It is only open once a week and they turn the streets into walking streets and vendors set up for what seems like miles.

We attempted to see the entire thing, but our tired bodies gave in and we ended up hailing a tuk tuk home after about 3 hours of touring the market. While the market is mostly comprised of artisans selling their handcrafted goods, it was the food that made us stop in our tracks. Spread throughout the market, are pockets of food vendors clustered together, and they offer what feels like a million different types of food for very very little money. Strategically we went to the market with empty stomachs and open minds, willing to try as many new foods as we could.
Needless to say, we ate...
                                   and ate...
                                                  and ate...
our way through the market, and  loved every single second of it.  If you are going to Chiang Mai, you MUST try to plan your trip so you are there on a Sunday so you can visit this extraordinary market (and don't forget to skip dinner before hand)!

I tried to take pictures to document our experience, but because it's the rainy season here, it was raining a terrible downpour making it slightly more difficult.  On a side note, it is simply amazing  to see how the market life in Southeast Asia thrives even in the rainy season.  Every night it literally rains buckets for atleast an hour - sometimes more, but the men and women working in the markets don't mind a bit.  While staying surprisingly dry, they set up their pop ups and tarps with ease and before your eyes the market is alive and well -  just as it should be.

Everyone there was so friendly.  We used a lot of made up sign language to communicate with this woman, and came up with our go-to sign for hot sauce (waving our hand in front of our mouth and sissing with our tongues - works everytime).

She makes rice omelets with and without meat.  This alone could fill your stomach!

The market offers your usual foods....sausage.

And corn.

And some unusual foods like this.  In Thailand we saw and ate a lot of meat (and fish) rolled into little balls. 
Sometimes they put them on a stick, but they are commonly used in soups as well.

This man was my hero!  I know I didn't come to Thailand to have sushi, but since this was the closest I had ever been to Japan (aside from a layover in Tokyo), I had to try it.  IT WAS THE BEST SUSHI I ever had and it costs anywhere from 10 cents to 30 cents a piece.   I ended up coming back for seconds and even thirds!  It was so good!

Shrimp dumplings = steamed goodness

Quail eggs (I think)

Here Andy is scouring the market for more.  You can see how heavy the tarps are with water from the rain. 

1 comment:

Daina @ New York State of Mind said...

Jen, this all looks to amazing! Can't wait for more posts; especially once you meet those elephants :) What a once in a lifetime experience you guys are having!