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Yummy Thai Snacks (Wednesday Photo)

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Yummy Thai Kanom

Six Sticky Rice Snacks

Four Sticky Rice Snacks

We seem to be blogging a lot about Thai (sweet) snacks (kanom wahn) lately so I’ll post one of my all-time favorite photos of snacks, this one taken at Bangkok’s Aw Taw Kaw (Or Tor Kor) Market(also called Or Tor Kor) back in 2004. I love the presentation (in banana leaf cups) of these artfully decorated sticky rice snacks with different toppings. The snacks on the top right and lower left have a custard (Sangkaya) on the sticky rice. The other ones are various sweet toppings. Too pretty to eat? Actually, too tasty to NOT eat!

The Wednesday Photo is a new picture  each week highlighting something of interest in Thailand. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

Aw Taw Kaw (Or Tor Kor) Market in Bangkok

Michael Babcock, Sunday, September 13th, 2009

For many years, one of our favorite markets in Bangkok has been the Or Or Tor Kor (pronounced “Aw Taw Kaw”) market that is out by Chatuchak market (the weekend market, sometimes called “J.J. Market”). If it were translatable to English, it would be the “ATK Market” because aw, taw & kaw are Thai alphabet letters. It’s usually transliterated from Thai to English as Talaat Or Tor Kor; an alternate transliteration is Dtalaat Aw Taw Kaw.

Front Aisle at Aw Taw Kaw

Front Aisle at Aw Taw Kaw

(Note: you may want to read our article A Note on Thai Spelling & Pronunciation. In many instances, such as this one, the official Thai transliteration – Or Tor Kor – will lead to wrong pronunciation by westerners. Although Aw Taw Kaw is more phonetically correct, you’ll probably have more luck finding information on it using the official spelling of Or Tor Kor. I’m using both interchangeably in this blog.)

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

You can get there via the MRT subway – get off at the Kamphaengpetch Road station. If you’re going by cab, make sure they take you to the correct Aw Taw Kaw – there’s also one out on Sukhumvit Soi 105 (Soi La Salle) that we’ve heard is not as interesting.

Prepared food at Or Tor Kor

Prepared food at Or Tor Kor

As Thai markets go, it’s a little more upscale. By American standards, it’s still a great bargain compared to what we have here in the states. It’s actually housed indoors, under a large roof (with open walls) and is very clean and somewhat orderly. I say somewhat orderly, because it’s a very popular market with Thais and it can get very crowded, particularly on weekends. Kasma says that it’s a place that many Thai movie stars like to shop and that you can sometimes see them going through, fashionably-dressed with their entourages.

Fruit vendor at Aw Taw Kaw

Fruit vendor at Aw Taw Kaw

What do I like about Or Tor Kor? Perhaps it’s just that every stall seems to have their wares displayed immaculately and in mouth-watering fashion. We always start by walking down the first aisle at the front of the market and it’s a challenge not to buy something at most of the stalls: there are luscious grilled prawns, roasted pork with dipping sauce, shrimp cakes, sticky rice treats in banana leaves, tropical fruit of all varieties, grilled sausage, and on and on. There are stalls with pot after pot of prepared food, some familiar, some not and nearly all appetizing.

Sausage at Or Tor Kor

Sausage at Or Tor Kor

Although Kasma and I go every year, I don’t take nearly as many pictures as I would like. Why? Because after about 5 minutes, we’ve bought so many items that I’ve got so much to carry that I can’t get to my camera easily. This is a dilemma not easily solved because I find that when we buy something from a vendor, it’s more of an even exchange; and they are generally happier to have their picture taken if you’ve made a purchase, as well. As with the other markets we visit, Kasma often brings pictures that we’ve taken the previous visit to give to the vendors: their astonishment that someone would do this and their happiness to receive the pictures is ample reward for our efforts.

Crabs at Aw Taw Kaw

Crabs at Aw Taw Kaw

One excellent reason to visit Or Tor Kor is to try the Durian. Or Tor Kor vendors tend to get top-of-the-line fruit of all varieties and durians are no different. I’ve already posted a couple Wednesday Photos about durian at Or Tor Kor that will guide you in your tasting. See

Food area at back of Aw Taw Kaw

Food area at back of Aw Taw Kaw

In addition to the mouth-watering prepared food that makes grazing down the aisles so irresistible, Or Tor Kor also offers basic ingredients of all kinds from vegetables and herbs to fresh, fresh seafood of all kinds, meats, any sauce you might need to cook a Thai meal, mounds of fresh curry pastes and (in the very back), rice of all varieties. The fruit can be fairly pricey; but if you are wanting to get a fruit out-of-season, it’s either pay a bit more or don’t get to taste it. Everything is top of the line.

Where we get Basil Duck

Where we get Basil Duck

We always plan our visit to include lunch time. There’s a section in the back with many stands that cook food to order (assuming you aren’t too stuffed from all the good things you’ve grazed on). We’ve already written about the stand that sells delicious pad Thai and mussel omelets (Pad Thai at Aw Taw Kaw Market). My other favorite dish is called (in Thai) Pad Gkaprao Bped – Basil Duck; it’s your basic stir-fried with basil recipe, such as Kasma’s Spicy Basil Chicken (Gkai Pad Gkaprao), made with roast duck and served (of course) over rice. I’ve included a picture of the stall that sells this so you can give it a try.

For drinks, look for one of the stalls that have the plastic bottles filled with many colorful-liquids; particularly good is the slightly yellow passion fruit juice, but the fresh-squeezed orange juice and the young coconut are really good as well.

Look for these colored bottles for good things to drink

Good things to drink

Next time you’re in Bangkok plan a visit to Aw Taw Kaw. It’s well worth the visit. As you wander the aisles you may wish you had your own kitchen, the fresh ingredients look so good, but all the prepared food will compensate you many-fold.

For more pictures of Or Tor Kor (and other markets), check out our markets pictures. There’s another good blog entry at She Simmers – Or Tor Kor Market. There’s also some photos on this Travellerspoint blog.

Grilled chicken at Aw Taw Kaw

Grilled chicken at Aw Taw Kaw

Written by Michael Babcock, September 2009.

Durian at Aw Taw Kaw (Or Tor Kor) Market (Wednesday Photo)

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Durian for Sale

Durian for sale!

Durian for sale!

Durian (thurian, in Thai): the fruit that people either love or hate.

Unfortunately, many people hate it because they try one that’s not very good. People who eat a good variety, ripe, and a reasonably large portion to begin with, usually like it.

It’s a fruit like no other. I think if you were tasting it blind and had never had it before, you might not believe it’s a fruit: perhaps a custard of some kind. It is very rich.

Aw Taw Kaw Market in Bangkok is an excellent place to get durian. It can be pricey there; but you can also get very, very good durian indeed.

This picture shows one vendor’s wares at Aw Taw Kaw. She’s offering two varieties of durian: the sign to the left says (in Thai script) mawn tawng (“golden pillow”) while the one to the right says gan yao (“long stem”). Of the two varieties, mawn tawng is much more common; gan yao is the tastier (and more expensive) variety.

Vendors there are typically generous with their tastes, trying to rope you in: they hope you’ll buy a package. I’ve never seen them sell an individual piece, just a package, such as the three in front – those large yellow lumps are the fruit, which grow incased in the brown outer coverings above. Don’t ever sleep under a durian tree! They are as spikey as the look!

The gan yao variety is truly delicious. However, it can get expensive, even in Thailand. One time we bought a plate that had perhaps 6 or 7 of the fruits and it was 2,000 baht — at today’s rates (about 34.5 baht to a dollar), that’s over $50.00 U.S. And it was worth it!

For more on Aw Taw Kaw Market, see Michael’s blog entry Pad Thai at Aw Taw Kaw Market. For more on Durian (including photos), check out Kasma’s article on the website: Durian, King of Fruits.

The Wednesday Photo is a new picture  each week highlighting something of interest in Thailand. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

Roasted Pork (Wednesday Photo)

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Roast Pork For Sale

Roasted Pork at Aw Taw Kaw market

Roasted Pork at Aw Taw Kaw market

In nearly every market in Thailand you’ll find a display of roast pig for sale such as this one, photographed at Or Tor Kor (or Aw Taw Kaw) Market in Bangkok – It invariably has the skin on, crispy from the roasting; next to the skin is a good sized layer of fat before you get to the meat underneath. It’s sold by weight. If you get the smaller, bite-sized pieces (such as in the lower center), it’s placed in a plastic bag and you’re given a sharp, long skewer to use to stab a piece  and also a smaller plastic bag of chilli-dipping sauce.

Thai people, like most Asians, love pork. 

Or Tor Kor (Aw Taw Kaw) Market in Bangkok (near Chatuchak Market) is a fabulous market, well worth a visit (don’t eat beforehand). You can read our previous blog entry on Pad Thai at Aw Taw Kaw (Or Tor Kor) market.

This photo continues with last week’s pork theme.

The Wednesday Photo is a new picture  each week highlighting something of interest in Thailand. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

Pad Thai at Aw Taw Kaw (Or Tor Kor) Market

Michael Babcock, Saturday, April 4th, 2009


Outside of Or Tor Kor Market

Kasma always gets a chuckle when people talk about Pad Thai as “the signature dish of Thai cuisine.” In Thailand it is  just one of many noodle dishes, available mostly as a street food or at noodle shops and not particularly popular dish amongst Thais. It’s mainly a fast food. Kasma does have a very good recipe for Pad Thai and teaches it in her Thai cooking classes.

Note: The official Thai spelling for this market is Or Tor Kor. This, unfortunately, leads most westerners to the wrong pronunciation. Aw Taw Kaw is closer to correct for pronouncing but less recognized; so I’ve used both interchangeably here.


Aisle at Aw Taw Kaw Market

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

The one place where I sometimes order Pad Thai for myself is at a stand at Or Tor Kor (or Aw Taw Kaw) Market (Talaat Or Tor Kor, in Thai) in Bangkok, which also happens to be one of our favorite markets in Thailand. Although Or Tor Kor is considered “high end” and the prices are higher than at other markets, the selection of food and the presentation makes it worth the extra few baht. I still find it very reasonable by United States standards. Our collection of Thailand market photos contains many pictures of this Aw Taw Kaw Market.

Pad Thai Stall at Aw Taw Kaw

Pad Thai Stall at Aw Taw Kaw

Or Tor Kor market is very near to the well-known Chatuchak Weekend Market. You can get there via the MRT subway – get off at the Kamphaengpetch Road station. The first picture above shows the outside of the market from the street. If you go on a weekend, you can also enjoy Chatuchak, with it’s estimated 8,000 vendors selling any and everything you can imagine. We usually go to Or Tor Kor on a weekday because it can get very crowded indeed on a weekend.


Pad Thai Cook at Aw Taw Kaw Market

If you’re going to Aw Taw Kaw, eat lightly beforehand. As you browse the aisles you’ll see pre-cooked food such as grilled prawns, satay, sour sausage, shrimp cakes as well as numerous kanom (snacks) such as sticky rice and kanom krok (rice pancakes) and it will be hard to resist grazing. There are, however, numerous food stalls that cook food to order in the back of the market and many of them are worth a taste.

The stand with the delicious Pad Thai is back in the eating area towards the outside edge of the market. The third picture shows the stand with the stall number (11/40) visible in the background. I actually had taken and delivered pictures of the woman making the dish many times before I actually ordered the dish, though Kasma had been ordering it for her trip members for many years.


Pad Thai Ready to Eat

Most Pad Thai recipes call for egg, usually (as in Kasma’s Pad Thai recipe) scrambled lightly. This woman’s adds eggs in a different way – she uses them to make a covering for the noodles in the center, sort of a Pad Thai omelette, if you will. Kasma tells me that this presentation is relatively common in Thailand, particularly when Pad Thai is served in a restaurant. In fact, there are as many different Pad Thai recipes as there are cooks. (Kasma’s article on The Spirit of Thai Cooking talks a bit about how Thai dishes can vary a great deal depending on the cook.) It’s served (as you can see to the left) with a banana blossom, some scallions (underneath), fresh bean sprouts and a lime. The lime is squeezed over the noodles and the fresh ingredients are eaten along with it.


Pad Thai with Outer Egg Opened Up

As you can see, once you open up noodles it looks very delicious indeed. It bears little resemblance to some of the Pad Thai noodles you find in the states – it is savory and tasty and completely without Ketchup!

For more information about the origins of Pad Thai, check out Kasma’s Pad Thai Notes and Pointers.

One other dish that the same woman makes is an mussel omelette. It is also very tasty (see picture below).

We’ve since done a whole blog post on Or Tor Kor Market.

Note: When asking for directions or taking a cab to Or Tor Kor, be sure to refer to it as Dtalaht Aw Taw Kaw – the usual spelling is talaat, meaning market, but dtalaht is closer to the actual sound in Thai. (See our Note on Thai Spelling & Pronunciation.)

If you are taking a cab, make sure that the driver takes you to the correct market. There is also an Aw Taw Kaw Market (Dtalaat Aw Taw Kaw) on Sukhumvit Soi 105 (Soi Lasalle, pronounced Soi “La-sahn”) – it is not as interesting a market.

Mussel Omelette

Mussel Omelette On the Griddle

Written by Michael Babcock, April 2009.