Taling Chan Market
by B Thornton- Harwood
If you happen to be in Bangkok and want some fantastic food, a journey through he city on a boat and a bit of a culture shock head to the Chang Pier in Bangkok. From here you can get a taxi boat for around 200baht (£4) to take you down the river to Taling Chan Pier.
En route you’ll see Bangkok from a different stand point, the river. It’s a lot less chaotic down there. I mean it’s still pretty chaotic and the turbo charged long tails move like the clappers, but it’s always fantastic to see a city from another point of view.
Along the river you see old factories, tiny jetties crumbling into the water, local families fishing and swimming in the drink, as well as floating vendors coming over to sell you cans of beer and bananas (for a VERY hefty sum, transportation costs on a rowing boat must be astronomical…)
Either way after 30 minutes or so you’ll arrive at Talingchan market.
It’s not Bangkok’s most famous floating market but it is a wonderfully small community of people selling their produce, most of which seemingly comes straight out of the river in front of you.
There are also tiny vendors selling fresh coconuts, cold cans of soft drinks and of course, the Chang. We sat down and ordered three plates between us, a whole salted bass, HUGE fresh shrimp and a few crabs.
It was terrific to see the produce being cooked up right in front of you, by a tiny Thai lady bobbing around in a boat fitted with a proper charcoal bbq. The bass was beautifully soft, and the salty flesh was kicked off by the green chilli relish on the side. In fact the first bite blew my head off with spice and I learnt to just dip, not dunk and scoop the salsa up after that.
The shrimp were firm and slightly charred which again really mixed well with the green chilli, while the crab was a mess of dark meat, and broken claws. Tucking straight in with your hands to all of this was a wonderfully primitive way to eat lunch and added to the experience- no frills, no nonsense, no ceremony, just honest food on a paper plate packed with flavour, covered in chilli and washed down with the Chang. A perfect lunch.