Or Tor Kor market is a bit different from the markets we’d previously visited on the trip. It isn’t on the street, and it isn’t open-air. And, as you can see it’s much cleaner:
The produce area was huge, and filled with all kinds of fruits (more on that later):
There were stalls selling just about anything you can think of related to food. Here’s one that sold various Thai chilli-pastes:
The market is technically split into two parts, the shopping area, and the food court. First, we stopped at the food court for lunch. There are tons of different stalls, serving all kinds of Thai food, so it’s a bit difficult to decide what to get. Eventually we decided on a “rice and curry” stall where the vendor serves you a plate of rice, and then you can just point and choose to whatever dish you like:
They had maybe 30-40 different options, and we ended up choosing three to go with our rice.Starting clockwise from the top-left is some kind of leafy, green vegetable with ground pork in what I think was a Thai fish-sauce. Next, on the top-right (and kind of on top of the rice), is a vegetable stir-fry with mung bean glass noodles, cabbage and carrots in a light soy sauce mixture with black pepper. Finally, in the bottom-center, is a pork dish spiced with curry and chilli-flakes. All of it was very good.
Next, we stopped by a stall serving pork satay:These were a bit different from the ones we got in Chiang Mai, since they were brushed with a kind of sweet, citrus-y glaze. They were delicious, and the peanut sauce was very good too. It was spicy and oily, but to be honest could have used a bit more peanut. Also the Thai cucumber salad was the perfect compliment with it’s sweet, vinegar-y sauce and a bit of spice from the fresh chillies.
Finally, we checked out Som Tam (as recommended by Mark Wiens) to get another Gai Yang. Unlike SP Chicken, Som Tam cooks their Gai Yang the traditional Thai way, by splaying the bird out, flattening it, and cooking it on a grill on bamboo skewers. You can just barely see the grill on the right side of this pic:
We ordered a half-chicken, which came with the usual two sauces:This was some great Gai Yang, due to the lovely grilled flavor, and the super-crispy skin. The sauces were, of course, excellent accompaniments.
After our meal, we stopped by the produce area to get some fruits for dessert.
The tender morsel pictured above is none other than the fabled and famed durian. Having had it on my Thailand list since before we even thought to come, I had constantly been on the lookout for some tasty durian the whole trip. Having learned about Or Tor Kor market from Mark Wiens, we also found out that this is a market known for its impeccable produce, a reputation we found it has rightly earned. Therefore, when it came to durian, it seemed the best place to give this notoriously smelly fruit a shot.
To explain the taste of a fruit or vegetable which many haven’t had is actually pretty difficult, but I’ll try my hand at it: the durian flesh itself is rich and creamy, with a fruity tinge– almost like a fruit custard. Having been peeled and prepared by someone who knows what they’re doing, the durian flesh seemed to have a perfect membrane surrounding it, all while wrapped around a gigantic seed below. It was an amazing fruit– much better than Sam or I expected– and I look forward to eating it again as soon as possible. Also, the smell wasn’t, too, bad, but I actually like the smell since it just tells my nose that there are durian to be had.
Pictures below is one of our beautiful mangosteens! Mangosteens are known as the queen of fruit, while durian are known as the king of fruit; mangosteens are thought to cool you down while durians warm you up, so their meant to be eaten together to balance the effects.
For those whom haven’t tried them, mangosteens are pretty much the closest thing to ambrosia we humans would be able to find. It’s sweet, unearthly flavor is very lightly floral (in a tropical way, similar to feijoa blossoms) but with a tangy note and pretty much is indescribable past that. All I can say is that when I was eating it I kept thinking something along the lines of, “This is the perfect fruit. The pinnacle of all things one could call fruit.” If at all possible, stop what your doing and try to find a mangosteen. Once you’ve done that, eat it. The only downside is that the flesh seems a little too friendly with the seeds, meaning you just have to spit it all out in the end.
We also got some fresh papaya, which we’ve had in the States; but these papayas were smaller, sweeter, and much better. They also lacked a funk which I always taste when eating papayas in America, but this might just be simply a different breed of the fruit. They were perfectly soft, ripe, and flavorful.
We also got some beautiful, hand cleaned red pomelo sections. If you’ve ever eaten pomelo, you probably have found that the pith of the fruit has an intensely bitter flavor; because of that, the fruit vendors at Or Tor Kor (and likely other markets as well) sit and carefully pluck off the pith, leaving the perfectly preserved pomelo sections you see below. They were tart, flavorful, and a perfect burst of citrus in ever bite.
I also managed to get something which I love beyond all else in the realm of food and drink: fresh passion fruit juice! Check out that bottle below and you’ll see the intoxicating substance which I remember being ridiculed for bringing in my lunch during 6th grade. They said it looked like eyeballs or something. Those poor saps; they don’t even know what they were missing. Passionfruit juice– real passion fruit juice– should be the same experience as just simply drinking a passion fruit; seeds, delicious membranes, and all.
This juice was one of the highlights of my trip. Honestly, I would have bathed in the stuff if that had been a reasonable response to finding something so delicious.
After we left the market with our goodies, we headed to the MRT to head to the nearby Chatuchak park. One the way we saw this delightful sign:
Apparently the king of fruits can’t ride the subway.