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Dried Red Chillies (Wednesday Photo)

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Dried Red Chillies in Sukohthai

Dried Red Chillies

Dried Red Chillies

This is a picture of some luscious dried red chillies at the morning market in Sukhothai.

For years Kasma has struggled to find really good dried red chillies in Bay Area markets; she’s been unsuccessful. So now, every year when she goes to Thailand, she buys enough to last the year from the market in Sukhothai.

The vendor tells her that these come from India but does not know the variety or the name. She’s found that using these in her cooking makes a marked difference. It’s particularly useful in recipes such as  Roasted Chilli Paste (Nahm Prik Pow) but noticeable in any recipe she’s tried.


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

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 Or Tor Kor Market 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.

Sukhothai Coffee Stand (Wednesday Photo)

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Kasma Loha-unchit at Thai Coffee Stand

Sukhothai Coffee Stand

Sukhothai Coffee Stand 

Over the past several years, coffee stands such as this one have become fairly common throughout Thailand. You’ll find them an many gas stations, in markets, on sidewalks or, as with this stand in Suhkothai, by the side of the read.

The coffee is usually quite good. Typically, each cup is ground and brewed to order. Many of the stands have a type of coffee that is called “Blue Mountain” – it does not refer to the Jamaican bean, rather it refers to a way of roasting the bean and it is really quite good.

You can start reading our multi-part series on Thai coffee with Coffee in Thailand, Part 1


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

Old Oakland Farmer’s Market

Michael Babcock, Sunday, October 4th, 2009

May 2020 Update: This post is still relevant today. The Old Oakland Farmer’s Market is still alive and thriving. (Or was, before Coronavirus.)

One of our favorite markets anywhere is the Old Oakland Farmer’s Market held at 9th Street between Broadway and Clay in Oakland, California on Friday mornings from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Google Map of market) The market actually takes place in the shape of a “t”, with 9th Street being the longer stem and Washington Street (from 8th to 10th Streets) the cross.

Oakland Farmer's Market Vendor

Oakland Farmer's Market Vendor

It seems appropriate to have an entry on one of the Oakland / Berkeley Farmer’s Markets that we frequent, since we’ve blogged a couple times about one of our favorite markets in Thailand (Or Tor Kor Market in Bangkok and Pad Thai at Or Tor Kor Market), blogged about the Bangkok Chinatown Market as well as given some advice on Shopping at Asian Markets For Thai Ingredients.

Oakland Farmer's Market

Oakland Farmer's Market

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

The starting time of 8:00 a.m. is pretty flexible. For us, the main attraction of the market comes from the large number of ethnic Asian and hilltribe produce vendors selling various and interesting Asian produce. One would, however, expect certain specialty items to be available in season (things such as pea eggplants) and often they are not. The reason is that the market is a favorite shopping stop for Asian restaurants and markets. There’s one vendor who in September always brings a box of pea eggplants to the market. One Friday Kasma asked him how early they were sold: a market owner out in San Pablo had come by and bought everything he had at 5:00 a.m. in the morning!

Bitter Melon and Asian Eggplants

Bitter Melon and Asian Eggplants

Among the various items that you can find here (remember: all of the produce is seasonal) are live catfish, large bunches of holy or Thai basil for $1.00 a bunch [possibly higher these days], various and exotic Asian greens, boiled and raw peanuts, several kinds of chile peppers, Thai eggplants, long eggplants, two or three different varieties of bitter melon and more. There’s one vendor on Washington Street (between 8th and 9th Streets) who sells fresh duck eggs, quail eggs, and chicken and duck balut. Balut are eggs that have a partially formed chick inside, and these balut are so fresh that you could take them home and hatch them. There are various fruit vendors and two flower vendors with bunches of flowers at very reasonable prices. There are a few organic vendors but most of the produce is not organic. One of our favorite fruit vendors is Twin Girls Farms, whose fruit is priced very reasonably for organic fruit. When available, try their organic pomegranate juice – it’s really tasty.

All Star Tamale

All Star Tamale

When we go, we usually  get there by 8:00 a.m. and even earlier if there’s something (such as lemon basil) that we want to make sure hasn’t been all sold by the time we arrive. We’ll take care of the bulk of our shopping and then breakfast on a red pork or green pork Tamale from All Star Tamales, sold from a truck on 9th between Washington and Clay; that block of the market consists largely of prepared food vendors and jewelry stalls. Tamales are 2 for $5.00; make sure you open it at the stall and squeeze on plenty of hot sauce. There are tables set up at the intersection of 9th and Washington, where there’s always live music, for the most part guitar and vocal.

By the time we’re done with breakfast, it’s 9:00 a.m. and the markets in Chinatown are open so we can complete our shopping there.

The market is well worth a visit on a Friday morning.

Balut for Sale

Balut for Sale


One of Kasma’s students has posted some Oakland farmers market photos. You might enjoy checking out the Yelp Reviews of the market.


Written by Michael Babcock, October 2009 & May 2020.

Pepper Sign (Wednesday Photo)

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Benefits of Black Pepper

Benefits of Black Pepper

Benefits of Black Pepper

And here all this time you thought you were eating black pepper just for the flavor! This was taken at a market in Bangkok.

We’ve got plenty more Thailand market photos. Or check out Kasma’s information on peppercorns (prik thai).


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

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 Tor Kor (pronounced “Aw Taw Kaw”) market that is out by Chatuchak market (the weekend market, sometimes called “J.J. Market”). In Thai it is ตลาด อตก. If it were translatable to English, it would be the “ATK Market” because aw, dtaw & gkaw are Thai alphabet letters. It’s usually transliterated from Thai to English as Talaat Or Tor Kor; a more phonetic transliteration is Dtalaat Aw Dtaw Gkaw.

Note: Re-reading this in May 2020 there is nothing I would change. We continue to love Or Tor Kor and visit several times during our stays in Thailand.

Front Aisle at Or Tor Kor

Front Aisle at Or Tor Kor

(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.)

(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 Or Tor Kor – 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 Or Tor Kor

Fruit vendor at Or Tor Kor

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 Or Tor Kor

Crabs at Or Tor Kor

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 Or Tor Kor

Food area at back of Or Tor Kor

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 Or Tor Kor 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 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 Or Tor Kor. 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 also some photos on this Travellerspoint blog (opens in new window).

Grilled chicken at Or Tor Kor

Grilled chicken at Or Tor Kor


Written by Michael Babcock, September 2009 & May 2020.