Kengtung has one of the more interesting markets in the region. Unfortunately I didn't spend as much time here as I'd have liked because I was here during New Years and was terrified of getting my camera wet.
But it only took a brief visit to see that, despite being located in Myanmar, Kengtung's Kat Luang is similar - if slightly more exotic - to its counterparts in rural northern Thailand.
From the basics:
including dried turmeric, dried chilies and disks of dried soybeans - all essentials of Mae Hong Son-style Thai food - to the prepared:
which included many similar nam phrik (chili-based dips) and aeb (grilled banana leaf packages of meat), there were many culinary similarities between the food of the various Tai groups in Kengtung and that of the residents of northern Thailand.
A particularly fitting example of this was the general porkiness of the selections, as the pork rinds and bottles of lard above illustrate. The sausages, located in the middle, are known as sai ua in northern Thailand and sai long phik in Shan. But the bundles to the right, dork khae, a type of indigenous flower, stuffed with minced pork and herbs and deep fried, were something I'd never seen before.
There were lots of noodles:
Including khao sen:
thin rice noodles served with a tomato and pork broth - also big in Mae Hong Son.
But the most popular variety were flat, wide rice noodles served with meatballs:
the latter tenderised by a vigorous and extremely unsanitary pounding with two sticks:
The market is so utterly Tai, there wasn't a bowl of mohinga to be seen.