Bananas on the run


Nakhorn Sawan Street, just outside Banglamphu in old Bangkok, is home to Talaat Nang Loeng, one of the older and more interesting markets in town. However the street is probably even more associated with the several shops in the area that sell kluay thawt, deep-fried bananas. This snack, also sometimes known as kluay khaek, is found just about everywhere in Bangkok, but what's special about these bananas is the way they're sold.

As illustrated above, the vendors take their product directly to the streets, waiting for a red light and weaving between stopped cars.


Technically, this is illegal, and every time a policeman comes, the vendors scream warnings at each other and run away frantically. I saw this happen several times in the nearly 15 minutes I watched them at work and thought that it seemed an awful nerve-wracking way to make a living.

Eventually I took a seat and tried the bananas. Although they're normally sold in bags of two for 20 baht, I bought a single bag for 10. The bananas of the particular vendor I bought were decent; not too greasy, but could have been a bit sweeter (and I prefer the ones with sesame in the batter). While I sat and crunched through my bag, I chatted with the vendors while they screamed at their co-workers in the streets when cops drove by. One vendor told me that he was particularly annoyed with journalists who had pretended to want to buy bananas, only to snap pictures and leave without buying anything.