This market, located behind Chiang Mai University, is probably the first Thai market I ever became familiar with. I was studying Thai at the university, and the market was a short walk from my apartment, also located lang mor (‘behind the university’). I’d walk there to buy prepared food, and my first attempts at cooking Thai food were made with ingredients bought here. I still use the wok I bought there back in 1999. At the time I assumed Talaat Ton Phayom was like any typical market anywhere in Thailand. It wasn’t until I learned more about Thai food and came back to the market later that I realized how local this market is. The vast majority of food sold there is specific to northern Thailand, and even as far as Chiang Mai markets go, this one is defiantly northern.
The northerners’ love of pork is very evident at Talaat Ton Phayom. There’s heaps of sai ua, the famous herb-packed northern Thai sausage:
as well as several vendors selling deep-fried pork rinds:
and of course, naam phrik num to dip them in:
There’s also less traditional protein, such as rot duan:
literally ‘express train’, worms that have been deep-fried.
The food in northern Thailand is more seasonal than elsewhere in the country, and during the rainy season you’ll find lots of mushrooms:
For a slide show of the entire set of images, go here.