Street markets a must-see
THERE is a wealth of delicious history at the 100-plus year old Nang Loeng markets, and Yai Hong could probably tell you about most of it.
One of the oldest markets in Bangkok, the Nang Loeng has the distinction of many stallholders living on the premises, some with their wares on their doorstep and a decaying wooden structure cinema which closed in the 1990s.
Whether you are after fresh fruit, iced coffee with a carry bag or handmade snacks prepared right in front of you, this market is sure to satisfy your palette and thirst for a history lesson.
Yai (Grandma) Hong (88) has been working at the markets since World War II, taking on stallholder duties in her teenage years. Her sweet dessert creations are fourth generation recipes, shared only by her aunty and two sisters.
Yai Hong’s bowed physique is the result of a long, hard working life hunched over and seems to scream for retirement, but her passion for her cooking, pleasant interactions with customers and warm smile says she is not going anywhere just yet.
“I don’t have any problems with my health but I have problems with my back; it is difficult for me but I am still strong,” she said.
She still makes the desserts herself, getting up at 7am and finishing about 5pm each day. She usually has help from her nephew, but the day she spoke with Community Newspaper Group she was doing it alone.
Once Yai Hong eventually gives up her stall, her recipes may no longer be shared as widely.
“Nobody in my family wants to do this after me,” she said.
“My nephew is a doctor so he does not have time to do this.”
For the more adventurous foodie, the Bangkok night street markets are the place to try. Make your way through the food carts for delicacies that you would never find in Australia, including fried worms, crickets and scorpions on offer from vendors.
The author was a guest of Air Asia.
Join us next week as we travel to Nusa Lembongan in Bali and learn about the thrilling water sports on offer on the island.
Yai Hong at the Nang Loeng markets.