We leave the flower market and enter the city’s Chinatown simply by crossing the street. With it’s bold colors, fanciful dragons, and other dramatic ornamentation, Chinatown presents quite a contrast to the real flowers for sale in the dimly lit flower market.
Our next stop is the food market. This is where the people who live in this city dine and shop for groceries. The market itself is located in a large concrete structure – it feels like the lower level of a large parking ramp. It is dark and damp and a little rank. Stalls selling the Thai version of fast food are just now being set up in anticipation of the evening rush. On the other hand, those selling grocery items are already
We pass long tables piled high with not-necessarily-fresh-smelling fresh fish, bloody meat, and freshly fried pork skins. However, it is the dried seafood that most intrigues me.
I know that Thai food uses dried shrimp, but here are dry bundles of almost every type of seafood imaginable, including odd stacks of neatly bundled dried squid.
Later in the evening, dinner at the Gallery Restaurant does prove interesting, but not in a particularly frightening way. I order the red snapper in banana leaves with mango. It doesn’t taste at all like I am expecting, but it is good, if a bit spicy. I think most of the others are also a bit surprised by their orders. Annette quickly figures out what is most interesting about our meals – each of the five dishes we have ordered has a completely distinct flavor. What a diverse cuisine!
Dessert for me is lychee ice cream, which tastes just as wonderful as I expected it to.