Jul 08 2011
Immediately across from the amulet market at Wat Mahathat is Siriraj Hospital and the Wang Lang market. Thousands of students from Thammasat University cross the Chao Phraya here every day for cheap housing on the Thonburi side of the river, and Siriraj is one of the largest public hospitals in Thailand. Starving students plus hungry nurses? It’s the perfect storm for street food and Wang Lang market is a great opportunity to snack your way to satiety.
Getting here is easy as both cross-river ferries and the Chao Phraya Express boats stop here (stop number 10, access from BTS Saphan Taksin or from Phra Athit Pier near Khao San Rd). Come off the pier and you’re in the market. It stretches up Phran Nok for at least 300 metres, and melts back into the tiny alleys behind.
Have a wander around first and then make a plan of attack. Sweets and little snacks are plentiful, like kanom krok (tiny Thai cupcakes baked in a hot metal mold) or kanom buang maprow (crispy wafers filled with meringue and sweet coconut filling or salty dried shrimp filling — they look like tiny tacos, and both are delightful).
There is excellent roasted pork, muu daeng yang, served at several places immediately to the left of the ferry pier (ask for baame muu daeng heng for a plate full of springy wheat noodles studded with chopped scallions and chunks of roast pork).
Southern food can be hard to find (well, hard to find in Bangkok, anyway) but several stalls along the south side of Phran Nok Rd serve it to go. Try phad sataw muu tawt if they have it — it’s made from the unfortunately-named-but-delicious stink beans stir-fried with crispy fried pork belly. The lovely astringency of the sataw beans cut through the fat of the pork beautifully.
Once you’ve reached your street food limit (never! is the answer of the truly dedicated), tons of vendors gather at the centre of Wang Lang selling retro (or faux-retro) clothes, cool kicks, very-used-yet-real designer bags, and all manner of hipster simulacra. This section of the market, called Talad Naew Naew, is best around noon when all vendors are operating at full bore.
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.