#21 [url]

Aug 11 16 11:55 AM

JostLori wrote:
For the Pi Rho Maniacs... our submission for the Floating Market Challenge!

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This weekend, the Pi Rho Maniacs decided to go on a two-day trip to Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkhram. The town is less than 90 minutes from Bangkok, so most people go there as a day trip, but we thought it better to take a comfy van and spend a night in one of the many homestays. 

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Lynn had booked us a night at Ban Mae Arom Homestay, as there are no hotels in the area. There are quite a few homestays in Amphawa, but we were advised to stay at the ones at the far end of the market as they are a little quieter and they have their own exclusive veranda on the riverfront. The room we stayed in was 1,200 Baht, or about $34, and was pretty basic with a shared bathroom. Sue said the thin mats on the floor, that passed for beds, would be good for her back. The rest of us were not so sure! But the view of the river made the stay worthwhile!

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During the evening, Marissa talked us into splurging on a firefly tour. This cost a whole 60 Baht per person, about $1.75. Ironically, we paid almost $20 for a can of mosquito repellent from our host – more than the combined cost of the tour! The first few groups of fireflies that we passed seemed more like cheap Christmas lights flashing in synch. To be honest, Lucy thought that they were fake lights! Later on though, our group photographer and tour guide, Vicki, was able to talk our boat captain into getting close to some trees where we could actually see them flying around. They weren’t easy to photograph, but she did manage to get this one!

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FIREFLIES

One of the highlights of spending the night in a homestay is that you get to see the monks that row by early in the morning. Lori and Nan, the early birds, woke us all up in time to see them go by our balcony at 6 am. It was touching to see the Buddhist monks making their rounds by boat and the local people offering food and alms as they paddled by.

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Although the floating market doesn’t open until noon, there were still a few longboats going up and down the canals. Along with several other guests, we bought a freshly cooked breakfast from them. I think it was a first for all of us – to eat red pork with rice and pad thai at 7 am! 

Once we all had a chance to shower and get ready for the day, we made our way up the canal to Amphawa market. Although the floating vendors weren’t there yet, we spent our time visiting the charming teak-wood shops that line both sides of the canal and open right up to the water. The shops sell souvenirs, from the usual T-shirts to some more interesting creations. The handicrafts, fashion and art are locally produced, meaning we wouldn’t find many of these goods in Bangkok’s markets. So when we saw something we really liked, we snapped it right up!

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The Thai people have a very sweet tooth, and in addition to the souvenirs, there were lots of places selling sweets, snacks and ice cream – even early in the day! 

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CANDY AND SWEET SHOP

Amphawa is the second most popular floating market near Bangkok, and its visitors are almost exclusively Thai. It’s not as large as Damnoen Saduak, which was built for tourists, but Amphawa is more authentic. The once small village was apparently already present in the mid-Seventeenth Century. The floating market offers a glimpse of how Bangkok looked when canals outnumbered the roads and people travelled by boat. The area is where the Mae Klong River meets the Gulf of Thailand and ancient canals still irrigate the region, which is chiefly farmland. People still live on the canals but it’s only on the weekend that the market boats come out. The floating market covers several city blocks, with the boats lining the shore on both sides of the canal.

Amphawa has become such a magnet for Thai weekenders that food stalls have grown out from the riverbanks and stretched far into the town. In all the streets radiating from the market, we found an incredible array of local food sold from small carts.

Boats sell fruit and vegetables from the local orchards and fields, and vendors offer colorful desserts traditional to the area.

Shortly after our souvenir shopping spree, having taken our prized goods back to the homestay, we began to see the boats making their way to the market. The main draw, of course, is eating seafood grilled precariously on the wooden boats moored around the famous central bridge, serving an appetizing array of huge prawns, shellfish and squid. From noon until late in the evening, the smell is simply irresistible and customers flock to each side of the river all day long.

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GRILLING BOAT

In addition to prepared foods, the boats sold fruits and vegetables from the local orchards and fields. And of course, the requisite sweets! Most foods looked familiar but some looked very unusual or even funny.  Rachel, Jackie and Debb made a game of who could name the most items for sale, especially the ones not common to our North American grocery stores. Among the fruits, we saw bananas, papayas, guavas, pineapples, mangoes, water apples, melons, coconuts, limes, passionfruit, tamarind, lychees, pomelo and starfruits. Among the vegetables were long beans, onions, chiles of all kinds, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, broccoli, cabbages, mushrooms, mung beans and sprouts, and root vegetables like jicama, cassava, yams, sweet potatoes, taro, and lotus root.

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FRUIT AND VEGETABLE BOATS

Some we’d never seen before, and we all got a laugh when our interpreter showed us something she called “stinky beans”! 

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STINKY BEANS

There were dried and fresh herbs galore, including cilantro (coriander), ginger, garlic, curcumin (turmeric), lemon grass,  various basils - (thai, sweet, lemon basil, holy basil!!!), spearmint, pandanus leaves, rice paddy herb, fingerroot, galangal. One boat had a beautiful selection of dried shrimp and various types of peppercorns and chiles.

We all thought we’d died and gone to foodie heaven! But knowing we had to travel back to Bangkok that afternoon, Lori was the only one who admitted to purchasing fresh produce – she wanted to make us a sweet surprise! We saw papayas, limes, and mint go into her bag.  A little birdy told us that Lynn snagged some lemongrass plants for her herb garden back home - we wondered it they would make it through customs, and how disappointed she'd be if they took them away!

Surprisingly, the boats also carried fresh seafood, despite the heat and the lack of refrigeration. We saw many types of fish, huge prawns, squid, clams, crabs, mussels and lobsters. It made us wish we had a way to take it all home!

We noticed that the streets were getting very crowded towards noon, and decided to make our lunch selections. We made our way to a row of narrow concrete steps leading down to the water, where the food boats were waiting a few feet away. The customers all perch on those steps, and the food is brought directly from the boats and served on tiny little tables at water’s edge. We had an opportunity, being early in the day, to eat at a nice restaurant with tables and chairs, but Forever Mama and Vicki insisted we partake of the authentic Thai experience and eat right there with the gathering throng!

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EATING AREA

Thankfully, our interpreter ordered for us, and we shared an assortment of authentic Thai dishes. We greatly enjoyed our satays, grilled prawns, noodle and vegetable dishes.

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STREET FOOD DISHES

Some of our entrees were distinctly spicy, prompting us to set off in search of a cold dessert to cool our mouths. We found a perfect ending at one of the street carts – a hollowed coconut filled with coconut ice cream, topped with shredded young coconut and salty roasted peanuts. A great ending indeed to our visit to the Amphawa Floating Market! Lunch and dessert came to around 300 bhat – about $9.

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ICE CREAM

Most first time visitors to Amphawa take a tour on one of the many longtail boats and explore the surrounding canals and rivers. It's not as impressive as the Bangkok Khlongs, but after the heat of the market the breeze from the river would be a welcome relief. They offer a temple tour and an island tour. We chose neither, as our interpreter told us of a very special temple on the other side of the Mae Khlong River, called Wat Bang Koong, which definitely shouldn't be missed.

It's hard to believe, but some people go all the way to Amphawa and entirely miss the magnificent temple located a hundred meters from the river. We walked the short distance to the temple, and it was just like a scene taken directly out of an Indiana Jones movie; a whole temple entangled in the roots of an enormous bohdi tree! Only the door and the six windows were free from roots. The temple is not abandoned nor neglected, far from that... devout Buddhists are constantly walking in and out to pay respect to the golden Buddha seated inside the temple. It was a wonderful place to take pictures and the artwork inside the temple was jaw-droppingly stunning.

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TEMPLE 

Amphawa is definitely the most attractive of all the floating markets in Thailand. It has managed to retain its authenticity and has not yet become overly touristy in an international sense. But Bangkokians love this place so much, that anytime after noon it becomes impossible to walk. We found that the best way to enjoy Amphawa is to arrive at the market before 10:00 and leave soon after lunch. Lured back by the promise of a frozen treat made with the ingredients we had just purchased, we went back to our homestay to pick up our belongings, and to enjoy the 90 minute ride back to Bangkok in air-conditioned splendor – our tummies full and happy, and one more thing crossed off our collective bucket lists!

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VAN RIDE

Postscript: Back in our Bangkok rental, Lori made the most refreshing dessert of the day – made 100% with ingredients she had purchased at the floating market: a thick slice of fresh, ripe papaya – topped with a housemade lime sorbet and fresh mint.  
Link to recipe:   https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/2016/07/21/papaya-boat/

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PHOTO OF PAPAYA BOAT
 

Wonderful story Lori, absolutely wonderful.  You are an amazing story teller.  You captured my interest from start to finish, it sounds like a wonderful time was had on the water by all. Thank you for taking us all to the Amphawa Floating Market.
 
Thank you so much for participating in this challenge. image

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#22 [url]

Aug 11 16 12:12 PM

Linky wrote:
It's Saturday morning in Bangkok and the Iota Eta Pi 
team is all ready to start on an adventure of culinary exploration with the sights and sounds, smells and textures of Thailand! 


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We are staying at the Baan Thai Damnoen Canal House. We chose this charming hotel because we can hop on a boat and float right on down to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market! 


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Oh! the market! Such color, so many people, so many boats! All the varieties of produce - what are some of them? Many look familiar, but there are some unknown to any of us. Fortunately, Adriana has a fondness for exotic foods so she is able to identify some. She points out the difference between guava leaves and kaffir lime leaves.  

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guava leaves

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 Mikekey goes into tour guide mode and tells us,  “Little known outside Thailand, the Mangosteen is a bizarre looking fruit that contains in its round, deep purple shell a delicate, flavorful white flesh that is eaten in sections. The number of sections found inside match the number of petals found on the bottom of the shell. A delicious, distinctive flavor also makes it wonderful for  juices.”  

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All of a sudden, Linky starts to point at a boat full of hairy red somethings - “I remember eating those when I was in Thailand - they’re rambutan. They look scary, but if you peel off the spiky rind there’s a firm, white, kind of translucent flesh inside, that’s sweet and has an interesting texture. They come canned in Asian food stores back home.” 


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Momaphet is more interested in foot gear rather than fruit - she’s eyeing up a boat loaded with shoes and bags. Some seem to be made of straw or some other plant material. She talks the boat lady into selling her hat - Momaphet is all decked out now!  And she’s all ready with bags to carry our loot back to the hotel! 

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Meanwhile, Mia is chatting with a cute little lady who had all kinds of baskets of rice in her boat. Mia is always on the look-out delicious gluten-free dishes and rice is a wonderful gluten-free food. While she gets the rice, she notices some lovely cilantro to add to her bag.

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Oh-oh, don’t look now, but there goes Muffin Goddess scrambling across the boats until she gets to one that has a gazillion kinds of bananas. Well, not quite a gazillion, but there are at least 20 different varieties of banana available in Thailand! Better try several kinds!  On her way back to the group, she points out an abundance of shrimps and their relatives. “These would be perfect to make curry back at the hotel! We can use these with some spices and rice - maybe some coconut milk?” 

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Lynn is trying to get everyone’s attention to show us some really unusual and questionable ingredients: “Bat, anyone? How about some cicadas? Or better yet, spiders?  Or maybe not!”  Fortunately, she decides on a plastic bag full of freshly made coconut milk instead!   

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So what happened to Sheepdoc? There she is - making friends with some chickens a couple boats down. That’s ok- she scores a dozen fresh eggs,  and some spices, too. Looks like turmeric, cumin, chili powder, coriander and more.  

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Sofieatoast is busy bartering for onions and garlic and some ginger, or maybe it’s galangal. I wonder what she has in mind - she’s no doubt thinking it’s too bad her catering job isn’t a little closer to this wonderful market! The sky’s the limit as to what’s available! 

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All the wonderful fragrances of food being prepared has made the gang hungry! Besides, as the day progresses, it’s getting warmer and more humid. Not quite as comfortable as earlier this morning! Also, a lot of tourists are flooding the market!  After all, this is the most popular floating market in Bangkok! 

imageimageSo, it’s back to our hotel where we’ll be able to make something delicious. On the way, we notice a bunch of floating plants that seem to almost cover some parts of the canal. Come to find out, they’re water hyacinth. Originally brought to Thailand as a decorative plant in 1909, it got out of hand and is now an invasive species. But leave it to the clever Thais - they make baskets, furniture and even flip flops out of the hyacinths! 

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Finally back at the hotel, we’ve decided to assist Sheepdog in making her famous Chicken in Red Curry and Coconut http://recipes.food.com/?redirected=true   Adriana is getting some of her marbleized eggs going on the stove. They will make a great late-night snack to top off our culinary quest in the floating market of Damnoen Saduak  https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/marbled-eggs/ 

imageFinally some shut-eye after a long, interesting and delicious day!
 

Wonderful story Linky, I enjoyed reading about your day on the water at the floating market very much...thank you for sharing the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market with us.

Could you please supply me with a working link of the recipe that was made for this challenge...so that I can give you credit for a completed challenge ... thank you image

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#23 [url]

Aug 11 16 11:08 PM

Thank you for the clarification Linky.... and thank you very much for posting in this challenge for your team. 

I really enjoyed the story. .. and pictures image

Last Edited By: Baby Kato Aug 11 16 11:17 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#25 [url]

Aug 11 16 11:24 PM

Lauralie51 wrote:
imageSisters of the Traveling Pans
Lauralie51

We need to make a change for the Sisters. K-9 Owned had signed up for this challenge but I will be stepping in for her.

Thank you for letting me know Lori, I will change the name for your team on page one.  Welcome, can't wait to read your challenge entry. image

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#26 [url]

Aug 12 16 11:36 AM

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Sisters of the Traveling Pans
Lauralie51

THAI FLOATING MARKET CHALLENGE

http://www.food.com/recipe/pad-thai-salad-500889 made and reviewed.

We decided to visit the Taling Chan Floating Market because it was right outside Bangkok but not a touristy type market yet. It had a charming appeal, genuine people, and just enough boats to be called a floating market. Being easily accessible without having to join a tour or wake up very early in the morning was also a big plus for us.

Our morning began with a quick cup of coffee and muffin that Annacia made for us then told us that's all we get so we didnt ruin our appetites. Nancy was the first one done so she started getting the tote bags together for us to carry our goodies home in and took the van keys so she would be ready to go when we finished up. Leggy Peggy called shotgun but by the time she turned around twissis was in the front seat. Nancy rolled her eyes and laughed because she knew we could be a handful!

The entrance to the market is not all that impressive with the green plastic roof sheltering mostly plants and gardening stuff but beyond that is the real market with all kinds or sweets, fruits and fun snacks that needed to be test tasted. Cookgirl and LifeIsGood stopped by to see what neat items they had for gardening and came back with a few things in their tote bag. We went a little further and crossed a small bridge to find all the moored wooden boats on the riverbank. The aroma in the air was wonderful and K-9 Ownded headed in that direction. MamiJ and Stacy G followed her then called back to the rest of us to join them. There were prawns, blue crabs, and large fish on small barbecues being sold so we got in line. I dont care for those type things so Annacia went back with me to get some lovely fruit salad and dessert for all the girls. We finished eating listening to a group of traditional Thai musicians playing for all the diners.

Before we left we went on a boat tour around the neighboring canals. There were temples we passed and also saw how people lived life by the water. A lady on the boat told us not to forget our foot massage on our way out. She said the masseuses work outside under the tree's and only charge 200 baht which is about $5.74 to us.
Found the massage area and we all sat down for our foot massage and one by one drifted off for an hours nap.

Last Edited By: Lauralie51 Aug 12 16 11:49 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#27 [url]

Aug 12 16 5:08 PM

Lauralie51 wrote:
image

Sisters of the Traveling Pans
Lauralie51

THAI FLOATING MARKET CHALLENGE

http://www.food.com/recipe/pad-thai-salad-500889 made and reviewed.

We decided to visit the Taling Chan Floating Market because it was right outside Bangkok but not a touristy type market yet. It had a charming appeal, genuine people, and just enough boats to be called a floating market. Being easily accessible without having to join a tour or wake up very early in the morning was also a big plus for us.

Our morning began with a quick cup of coffee and muffin that Annacia made for us then told us that's all we get so we didnt ruin our appetites. Nancy was the first one done so she started getting the tote bags together for us to carry our goodies home in and took the van keys so she would be ready to go when we finished up. Leggy Peggy called shotgun but by the time she turned around twissis was in the front seat. Nancy rolled her eyes and laughed because she knew we could be a handful!

The entrance to the market is not all that impressive with the green plastic roof sheltering mostly plants and gardening stuff but beyond that is the real market with all kinds or sweets, fruits and fun snacks that needed to be test tasted. Cookgirl and LifeIsGood stopped by to see what neat items they had for gardening and came back with a few things in their tote bag. We went a little further and crossed a small bridge to find all the moored wooden boats on the riverbank. The aroma in the air was wonderful and K-9 Ownded headed in that direction. MamiJ and Stacy G followed her then called back to the rest of us to join them. There were prawns, blue crabs, and large fish on small barbecues being sold so we got in line. I dont care for those type things so Annacia went back with me to get some lovely fruit salad and dessert for all the girls. We finished eating listening to a group of traditional Thai musicians playing for all the diners.

Before we left we went on a boat tour around the neighboring canals. There were temples we passed and also saw how people lived life by the water. A lady on the boat told us not to forget our foot massage on our way out. She said the masseuses work outside under the tree's and only charge 200 baht which is about $5.74 to us.
Found the massage area and we all sat down for our foot massage and one by one drifted off for an hours nap.

Thank you for participating in this challange Lauralie, hope you enjoyed the market... image

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