Bangkok, Thailand Food Tour - Exploring Bangkok's floating markets with a local

Posted by Emma | 24th April 2023

The Khlong Lat Mayom floating market in Bangkok offers a captivating glimpse into the way of life along the city's riverside communities. Unlike some of the more touristy floating markets, Khlong Lat Mayom maintains its traditional charm. I joined a small guided tour with a local guide, Pook, who promised an authentic local experience.

As I arrived at the market, I was already captivated by the picturesque scene of boats laden with colourful fruits and vegetables. We climbed aboard our long boat and began to travel down the river past the local homes, ornate temples and Asian water monitors, with Pook sharing stories about local life in the waterways. Our first stop was the Wat Saphan floating market, where boats in the surrounding waters were brimming with fresh produce, handicrafts, and mouthwatering street food. Guided by Pook, we meandered through the maze of stalls, sampling tasty Thai treats along the way.

Adjacent to the market is the Wat Saphan temple adorned with gold Buddha statues, incense sticks and candles. Pook explained that when Thai Buddhists visit the temple they will normally make an offering, known as wai phra; wai being the traditional greeting with palms pressed together and raised towards the face and phra being the word for a Buddha image, monk or priest. I took a moment to offer a lotus flower, pressed a small square of gold leaf onto the Buddha image and soaked up the spiritual ambience of the temple.

I hopped back on the boat and we continued on to our next stop, the Niyom's Orchid Farm, which showcased an impressive variety of beautiful orchids in full bloom. The rows of vivid orange, purple and red orchids were picture-perfect!

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After taking far too many photographs of orchids, we returned to the Khlong Lat Mayom floating market. The market buzzed with activity as locals bargained for fresh ingredients or enjoyed lunch with friends. The stalls displayed fresh fruits, aromatic herbs, and many delicious-looking dishes. Pook's passion for her city's culinary delights was evident as she shared insights about the origins and preparation of the foods we sampled. With her guidance, I tried many delicious fruits and snacks such as miang kam (bite-sized snack wrapped in leaves), Thai fish cake, khanom buang (Thai crispy pancake sweet taco) and coconut pancakes before enjoying a sumptuous lunch.

The menu consisted of pad pak boong (stir-fried morning glory), kaeng kiew waan gai (green curry), pad prik gaeng kai (red chicken curry), pad phong karee kai (yellow chicken curry), pad kraprow moo (holy basil stir-fried with pork) and larb moo (spicy pork salad). Every dish hit the spot; I certainly didn't leave hungry!

The tour was a sensory adventure, a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds! Pook fell in love with these markets at an early age when she used to accompany her father to buy produce for their family food business. Her knowledge and passion played a pivotal role in shaping this authentic experience. Make sure to include this wonderful floating markets tour in your Bangkok itinerary!

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