Foodie heaven – the Thong Sala night market
Oh, how we Travelettes love Asia! The sun, the sea, the fashion, the people, the feeling of not knowing what the hell is going on at times and last but certainly not least, the glorious food!
One of the best food experiences of my life coincidentally took place on one my of my favorite Thai islands, Koh Pha Ngan. Smack bang in the main hub and port of the island, the Thong Sala night market is tucked up next to that shining beacon of traveler convenience that can only be a large 7 Eleven. Don’t be fooled by the fact it looks like a rundown, old, parking lot by day – as dusk falls, the carts roll down, the plates hot up and the culinary assault on the senses begins.
Ladies vie for your business with vats of different Thai curries from meaty to veggie and all for about 50 Baht a portion including a dollop of rice. Don’t feel too shy to do an Oliver and ask for a little bit more or for a few dishes mixed together, the price will adjust accordingly but still remain cheaper than chips.
If you find you’re developing a taste for the classic Pad Thai, never fear, you can choose your additional ingredients and have it prepared right before your greedy, little eyes. But it isn’t just Thailand that’s represented at this night market… The influx of backpackers has extended the repertoire to include a slice of Italy with thin-crust, crispy pizzas and for those that adore the fruits of the sea, a little bit of Tokyo is present in artfully rolled sushi offerings.
BBQ grills sizzle and spit with an array of different delicacies from whole squids on a stick to the altogether safer looking chicken and sweet chili sauce. Or if you fancy something a bit more substantial, check out the roasted chicken or pork, prepared in a huge, water-filled urn or the whole fish dishes flavored Thai style – salty, sour, spicy and sweet. Simply missing a good, old-fashioned packet of crisps? Drop by the hot potato man who fries up slices of finely cut potato before your eyes and threads them onto a stick for you so you can continue on your hunter-gathering way.
Got a sweet tooth? Look out for my favorite fruit shake stall in Thailand due to its garish pink and exotic fruit décor and smiley, happy ladies that can recommend you delicious mixes you’d never have considered before. The bubble tea man will whip you up a treat from a delectable array of confectionery drinks dotted with tapioca balls and topped off with a whipped cream flourish. Or perhaps you’d rather savor a sweet crepe from Mr. Crape – surely he deserves your business just for the name?
And when the feeding has finished, take a rest and watch the munch bunch hustle and bustle before rolling yourself home to a contented sleep or smashing a red bull and hitting the party beaches. The perfect start or end to any Koh Pha Ngan evening.
Pics by Alex Saint