Sep 13 2011

Or Tor Kor market: Bangkok’s gourmet market

Published by at 7:59 am under Food,Shopping


Wet markets in Thailand are easy to come across — gigantic Khlong Toei simmers in the south of Bangkok near the river and Hwai Kwang bubbles and brews in Ratchada — but orderly Or Tor Kor is a real treat in the north.

Yes, we have no bananas.

Or Tor Kor (actually pronounced Aw Taw Kaw, every syllable rhyming with ‘raw’) is organised by a farmers’ marketing association and the selection of vendors and good management of both the physical space and operating conditions has created a unique space in Bangkok. It’s every bit a fresh food market, with butchering, scaling, pruning and coring taking place right out in the open air, produce stacked in pyramids, but the building is clean and well lit. From its inception it’s been a more upscale market than others in Bangkok, famous for the size and quality of the fruit sold there at prices to match.

It is more expensive than Khlong Toei, but the variety and quality of produce, fish and meats sold is amazing. The market isn’t just raw food, however. It’s an excellent place to try Thai sweets, like khanom krok, which are little coconut milk puddings cooked in a hot griddle cup, leaving the outside crispy and caramelised and the interior smooth and satisfying, or khao taen which look like puffed rice cakes found in the health food aisle in Western grocery stores, but are drizzled with palm sugar caramel and eaten as a sweet treat here.

I'll take... one of everything.

Near the back of the market is a food court with too few tables to handle the lunch time crowd, but even if there’s no seats, grab a handful of grilled meat on sticks and munch your way around looking for your second course. The kway tieow ped is highly recommended — fat slick rice noodles are served drenched in a duck broth soup, thickened slightly with blood (sounds gross, but it isn’t… just trust us on this one) and topped with roasted slices of duck breast and braised chunks of leg meat. For dessert, coconut sweets abound — try the stand located in the centre of the market (called Khanom Thai Khao Pee Nong, but the sign is only in Thai — look for stacks of tasty looking sweets) where iterations of every possible combination of coconut and palm sugar stand ready for the tasting.

Two excellent writers on food in Thailand are big fans or Or Tor Kor: check out Leela’s memories of Or Tor Kor, and Austin Bush’s beautiful photography of the market.

Or Tor Kor Market
Open daily from 08:00-20:00, but most lively on the weekends.
MRT: Kampheng Phet Station, take the exit marked Marketing Association of Farmers which will put you directly in front of the market. Across the street (and about a five-minute walk) from Chatuchak Market.

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