Talaat Nat

It's Saturday and that means time for my weekly neighborhood market. Today it was mostly the same old faces and the same old eats, however I chose a couple interesting things to describe below.

This chap comes every Saturday and sells candies that he shapes out of sugar himself.


The wooden base holds a small coal oven used to heat up and soften the sugar mixture that is held in a metal bowl. When it's soft enough he takes a bamboo stick and a glob of each color:


and twists it into the shapes he desires, using nothing but his fingers and a pair of scissors to do the details:


Today he had parrots, hearts and flowers. I asked him to make a custom one for me and he made this elephant:


Another interesting thing at the market is the kung ten salesguy:


The sign says "Kung Ten Salad. Fresh and clean." Kung ten literally means "dancing shrimp", and refers to tiny freshwater shrimp that are sold while still alive:


You can't tell in the photo, but they are bouncing around all the time, thus the name. These are popular in NE Thailand, especially in the provinces near the Mekong River, where I imagine they're raised in cages. Here's a closeup of the shrimp:


He sells them by the bag, makes them into yam, a spicy-sour salad, or deep-fries them until crispy. I've had them before and they really don't taste like much. I think the attraction lies in the thrill of eating something that's alive!