Tuesday, July 26, 2016

ตลาดสามชุก :: Sam Chuk Old Market

ตลาดสามชุก | Sam Chuk Market | 三烹百年老噠叻.
The signboard is a mix of Thai and Mandarin, especially the last two words ‘噠叻’,
which sounds out to 'talaat', i.e 'market' in Thai. 

Drove two hours out northwest to Suphan Buri's Sam Chuk Market (ตลาดสามชุก) that sits on the banks of Tha Chin River (แม่น้ำท่าจีน). It was a trading post for the Central Region back in 1800s. Today, it's a UNESCO acknowledged day market that closes by 5pm. It's a century-old Chinese riverside community that has been preserved for both local and foreign tourists.

The market is made up of four main streets and slightly fewer than 200 two-storey wooden shophouses. There're private houses turned museums that one could wander in for a look. What's most interesting is that most of the stalls' owners live right there. It's their houses and shopfront all at the same time.

Despite the blistering heat and crazy perspiration, it was a very pleasant stroll because there weren't heavy crowds! The small market is known for its meatballs, fishballs, roasted and braised duck, as well as roasted and barbecued pork. There're many stalls selling dried fish too.  LOTS OF FLIES BUZZING AROUND. It's also known for its many traditional Thai desserts that other provinces don't have. Those desserts will have to be talked about in a separate post.

There're a few shops selling fishballs and porkballs, and of course with noodles and prawns or pork or both. But they also have those in a packet or on a stick as snacks. Sizes of balls come in small, big and gigantic! The gigantic ones are bigger than my face!!! Ask the stallholders which ones contain pork and which ones are fish. The fishballs were quite amazing! Lightly grilled and drizzled with chilli, I inhaled three sticks at a go. I have a weakness for nicely kneaded balls. Ate another three sticks five minutes later. No regrets.

We meandered through the tiny streets looking at the old school shops and old-style wooden houses. Because of the Chinese heritage, these houses, decor and random stuff are really familiar, and honestly, identical to those in Vietnam's Huế and Hội An. Looked at the old maps of the area, and the layout of the godowns and such are pretty similar to what Singapore's Boat Quay and Clarke Quay used to be.

Avoided all the stalls selling stupid t-shirts and clothes, stuffed toys and silly accessories. These things totally kill the vibes. Those selling colorful tiffin carriers and kitchenware aren't too bad. There were glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in lotus leaves. Heh. Passed on those too.

Then we spied steamed bamboo shoots. One of my favorite snacks! I like savory snacks leh. Happily bought a packet to munch. Dip them in the various choices of chilli paste available. Perfect. The store sold plenty of that. I bought a few bottles of those chilli paste. I want to taste them, then re-create them at home.

We even managed to find stomach space for like a sit-down lunch from the street stalls in front of an old-fashioned kopitiam Raan Café Tarue Song (ร้านกาแฟท่าเรือส่ง, literally translated into 'the coffeeshop by the pier'). It was stifling hot but I couldn't resist having a hot Thai coffee. Not into iced coffees or cold brews at all. This is properly kopi-o kosong. Mmmm.

At the duck stall Ped Yang Ja Cherd (เป็ดย่างจ่าเฉิด), the grandmother chopping up ducks was fantastic. She did it for hours and probably day after day after day. Wow. That arm strength needed to do so... o.O Two types of duck- roasted and braised, and from the other stall that sells pork and roast meats, two types of pork- barbecued and roasted. Washed them down with shared plates of rice and soda water. Happiness.

No comments: