On the surface, Mae Sot is one of the least likely food destinations in Thailand. However those in search of something unusual will certainly be rewarded, as because of its location near the border with Myanmar (Burma), Mae Sot is in many ways more Burmese than Thai. This has led to a variety of dishes and ingredients that are rarely seen elsewhere in Thailand. This is especially evident in the town's morning market (pictured above), where I began my day with a breakfast of mohinga:
the famous Burmese noodle soup, which in Mae Sot is sold from several basic restaurants near the market:
The mohinga was OK, not nearly as good as some I've had in Yangon, but considering this is one of the few places in Thailand where one can get the dish, I was happy. The strips you see in the top of the soup are yuak kluay, the inner pity stem of the banana tree, an essential ingredient in mohinga. Upon ordering the dish, the vendor also crumbles a deep-fried lentil cracker into the soup.
Other interesting things to eat at the morning market included this delicious Burmese sugar cane sweet:
another rarity in Thailand, samosas:
and fresh eels:
There were also some interesting things to see, such as the Burmese shoppers and shopkeepers themselves:
After exploring the market, we stopped by Wat Chumphon Khiri where we had a snack of lephet thoke:
the Burmese dish of pickled tea leaves mixed with deep-fried nuts, tomatoes, shredded cabbage, lime juice, sesame oil and garlic. There were lots of other Burmese dishes for sale at the grounds of this temple.
Lunch was another dish of probable Burmese origin, khao soi:
Made here by Muslims, an ethnic group that is quite evident in Mae Sot. The khao soi was average; undoubtedly better is hkauk hswe, the Burmese predecessor to khao soi that is sold at the same shops that sell mohinga.
So if you're looking for an exotic market and even more exotic food, I'd highly recommend Mae Sot.