Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday Walking Street, Chaing Mai

Every Sunday one of the greatest things you can attend in Thailand happens, and it's free ....if you have any will power.

Walking streets are the Thai term for a market that's laid out on or beside the road with the road closed off for walking.. the biggest of these happens in Chiang Mai. Starting life as a one street walking street it now forms a giant cross through the old city and spreading down many of the smaller side streets, but this is no ordinary Thai cheap souvenirs, DVDs and football shirt frenzy, here the stalls sell local handicrafts not really seen at the more touristed markets, budding designers and jewelery makers show their stuff and through all of this musicians and performance artists sing, play and dance.


Best of all the temples that line the route of the walking street fill with food vendors, some that only make an appearance once a week here. Stroll through the gate of the temple and you'll find your self in an impromptu food court, it's fantastic! Our favourite of these is located in Wat Muen Lan the closest temple to Tha phae it's here you'll find the best BBQ in Thailand (no exaggeration), some unusual omelets, a man hand making fish balls for soup and a great selection of tasty Thai sweets. It's where we always head first off, straight to the back of the temple looking for the BBQ lady, this time is no exception. She has a half steel drum converted into a BBQ, cooking over coals she grills chunks of marinated pork as well as the northern Thai sausage sai oua. You just pick up the pieces you want with tongs and place them in the front she'll then bag them up for travel. The pork is imbued with a smokey goodness covered with a simple chilli sauce it demands you keep eating and the sausage is one of the finer examples to be had around these parts, to compliment she also offers the traditional side of roasted green chilli relish (nahm prik num), bags of deep fried pork skin and sticky rice. We take our feast to the nearest table and enjoy while watching the crowd.

Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai

After this mandatory stop it's off to another, the banana leaf omelet stall where banana leaf boats are filled with an egg mix and goodies before being grilled, an order sees them flipped to set the top before being cut and handed to you straight in the leaf, next to the grill is a range of condiments chilli, soy, fish sauce and such. Our favourite omelet is mushroom, for a little more adventure we also love the bee larvae, a little nutty and squidgy but definitely worth a go.

Chiang Mai (209)
Chiang Mai (1)

Then it's off for a wander to see whats still here and whats new, listen to the music and enjoy and probably find a few more snacks.

Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
These were chocolate covered bananas and grapes, beautiful to look at but the chocolate was of a dissapointing taste and texture.

There's such a great vibe with most of the crowd being Thai, like the town has turned out to see and support each other. Very cool!
As we wind up done for the evening we usually return to Wat Muen Lan to pick up some black sticky rice with fresh coconut and roast peanuts for the road, wrapped for travel in folded banana leaf it's beautiful, and environmentally friendly as well as delicious.

Chiang Mai (174)

The perfect end to an always great afternoon!

Sunday walking street
Every Sunday, Chiang Mai
all along Th Ratchadamnoen and surrounding streets and sois
Starts late afternoon until midnight
Allow some serious hours if you want to see it all

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