Most of Thailand's floating markets are staged tourist traps, but the market at Tha Kha, located in a remote corner of Samut Songkhram Province, remains relatively authentic. It's also stunningly beautiful, and in addition to buying food from the handful of land- and boat-bound food vendors:
visitors can do a 45-minute boat tour of the area's pencil-thin canals:
which also includes a stop at a rural palm sugar producer. And Tha Kha has the added benefit of being close to Amphawa, a time-warp of a town where scenes like this:
are part of everyday life.
It's a beautiful slice of rural Thailand that actually lives up to the tourist brochures, but the highlight for me was one of the tastiest versions of hoy thot, a type of mussel omelet, that I've encountered in a long time.
Like the other vendors at Tha Kha, Mae Khiaw sells her meals from a boat. But what really makes her dish unique is the fact that it's fried in lard, over coals:
This results in a hoy thot that's rich, gooey, salty and smokey. It's a superior version of the dish by any reckoning, but eaten in the cool morning at the side of a palm-lined rural canal, to a soundtrack of chatting vendors and lapping water, it's also an example of that rare junction of flavour and setting that can elevate a dish from a simple meal to an experience.
The Tha Kha floating market is held from 7am to 1pm on the "2nd, 7th and 12th day of waxing and waning moons"; if you're not familiar with the lunar calendar, just call Amphawa's TAT office (034 752 847), who can tell you when the next one will be held.
Mae Khiaw Tha Kha Floating Market, Samut Songkhram 7am-1pm
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