Jul 20 2012

Photo essay: Street food at Samui’s walking street markets

Published by at 7:29 am under Food

No matter your palate — adventurous or run of the mill, spicy or not — Ko Samui’s walking street markets are sure to please.Each neighbourhood schedules theirs on a different night of the week, usually starting at around 17:00. Mae Nam hosts their walking street on a Thursday night, Fisherman’s Village on Fridays, Nathon and Chaweng do Saturdays, and Lamai hosts on a Sunday evening. Smaller markets have popped up elsewhere, but these are the main ones, with Mae Nam and Fisherman’s Village being the most popular.

A safe bet for the less adventurous.

The street or loop road where each market is held is closed off to traffic; authorities are very strict about this, and should an unsuspecting vehicle owner leave their car parked on a market road, they have no choice but to remain there until around 22:00, when it may it be moved as the market winds down.

Follow your nose!

The markets boast an abundance and huge variety of food that reels the locals in, so you know it’s authentic; you’ll find tables heavy with pots of curries and soups ready to ladle over rice.

If another tourist asks me why 'no name' is called 'no name' ...

Other local favourites include grilled fish with Thai herbs, seafood omelettes and any form of food on a stick. Deep-fried insects cause quite a stir. At 20 baht a scoop, they are a popular snack with locals and daredevil tourists trying to impress their mates.

Something fishy ...

The expat influence and the need to satisfy less adventurous tourists means that Western food is also represented in the way of shwarmas, pizza, lasagne, paella and German bratwurst. Cocktail stands vie for customers with bartenders that fling bottles  into the air, pump out dance music and advertise their specialty drink, usually selling for 50-60 baht.

Excuse me barman, which cocktail goes best with chilli?

Those wanting ‘safer’ Thai food may want to try the grilled corn, chicken or pork satays with peanut sauce, spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce, fried quails eggs with soy sauce, grilled chicken or barbecue pork ribs.

No finger bowl, just lick your fingers!

Dessert tables provide sweet sustenance to counterbalance the bite of the chilli. The pancake stands always boast a long queue, as do the mango and sticky rice with coconut sauce and a Samui specialty, coconut ice cream with, to the Western palate, odd topping choices.

Yes please! But hold the topping.

No choc chips or peanut sprinkles here.

Other sweet treats include small coconut cakes, coconut waffles and other rather strange gelatinous looking dishes. Again, the European influence is evident by the presence of baked goods – chocolate filled croissants, cinnamon buns and decadent chocolate cake are generally all available somewhere at the markets.

Tasty little bundles of warm coconut.

Those looking for a healthy alternative may want to try noodle soup, fresh fruit shakes or slices of fruit kept cool on ice.

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