In reading Suthon Sukphisit's excellent Cornucopia column, which runs every Saturday in the Bangkok Post, I was reminded of a Vietnamese market that takes place every Sunday morning off Th Samsen. Considering that my last few posts have been decidedly Vietnam-oriented, I figured a visit and a blog wouldn't be out of place here and now.
The market unfolds in an area known locally as Baan Yuan ('Vietnam Town') directly behind the St Francis Xavier Church. According to Suthon, the area has been inhabited by people of Vietnamese origin for more than 200 years. Other than the Catholic church, today there's little to indicate that the area is any different from any other riverside community in Bangkok. However a close look at the neighbourhood's Sunday market reveals its Vietnamese origins.
It's a small market that appears to thrive on the after-service rush at about 10am or so:
A couple stalls sell ingredients imported from Vietnam or used exclusively in Vietnamese cooking:
including several varieties of muu yor, the ubiquitous steamed pork sausage, tiny baguettes from Nong Khai, jars of coarsely ground black pepper, and the rice noodles and rice paper wrappers used in various Vietnamese dishes.
If you come hungry there are also a few prepared dishes, including khao kriap paak mor, shown at the top of this post. As mentioned previously, this dish takes a freshly-steamed noodle:
and fills it with a pork and herb mixture and serves it with a spicy/sour dipping sauce. A variation on this, known as ban daa, and previously mentioned here, takes the steamed noodle and puts it in a crispy rice cracker:
I liked the khao tom yuan, a thick fish (or chicken) based soup with round, squiggly noodles:
I also liked the khanom bueang yuan, the famous Vietnamese stuffed crepe:
although, in rather un-Vietnamese fashion the dish was served without fresh veggies and herbs.
Other dishes include deep-fried spring rolls, Vietnamese-style roast pig (unfortunately sold out when I arrived) and a shop at the middle of Soi 11 that appeared to sell some tasty-looking naem nueang.
Sunday Vietnamese Market (Google Maps link) Samsen Soi 11-13 (located directly behind St Francis Xavier Church) Sundays, 6-10am