Bang Khon Thi, Samut Songkram (บางคนที สมุทรสงคราม) – Day 10
After a hard rainstorm the day before, I woke up to a beautiful morning in Bang Khong Thi, Samut Songkram (บางคนที สมุทรสงคราม).
Our hotel, Chantara Resort, was right next to the river, and the morning sunshine reflecting over the calm water was so peaceful and so relaxing.
Bang Khon Thi is very close to many of the most famous floating markets in Thailand, like Amphawa market, and Bang Noi floating market.
These floating markets are only open on the weekends, and we were there during the week, so the town was nice and quiet.
We got off to a later start on Day 10, not quite at the crack of dawn, like most of the other days, but at around 7 am.
Our first line of duty was to find breakfast.
I chose khao kluk kapi (ข้าวคลุกกะปิ), one of my favorite single plate Thai dishes that includes rice stir fried in shrimp paste, topped with pork, shallots, egg, cucumbers, chilies, and should be green mango (but in this one they used cabbage, probably to keep the cost down – it was only 30 THB – $1).
Wasn’t the best I’ve had, but it was alright.
Rong Krua Restaurant (ร้านโรงครัว)
By 8 am, the sunshine was already blazing hot.
We arrived at Rong Krua Restaurant (ร้านโรงครัว), the same restaurant where we had eaten the night before, and met up with P’Ree, the owner and cook of the restaurant.
P’Ree, is actually the sister of P’Da, the owner of Yeesarn restaurant in Nakhon Pathom, which we had eaten at and filmed at a few weeks before.
At Rong Krua restaurant(ร้านโรงครัว), P’Ree serves local Samut Songkhram (also known locally as Maeklong) dishes.
Many of the traditional recipes she makes, were passed down to her from her mother, and from further generations back.
The dish we really wanted to film was her version of tom yum goong (ต้มยำกุ้ง) to continue the episode from day 7 in Ayutthaya (where I had the best tom yum goong of my life).
Our first step was to just go to the vegetable vendor to buy a few of the small vegetables we’d be using for the recipe.
Tom yum goong (ต้มยำกุ้ง) – Maeklong style
You might already know, I’m a huge fan of tom yum goong.
I think it’s one of the best soups in the world, so I was pretty excited to make it again, and learn yet another recipe… this time the Maeklong (แม่กลอง) recipe.
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For the recipe, P’Ree and I first dry roasted the shallots, garlic, and chillies, something that’s not typical these days, but was very common traditionally.
We then boiled water along with the trio of roasted ingredients, and also added in lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. When it was almost done cooking, we tossed in the prawns, and the final step was to add in more crushed chilies, fresh lime juice, and cilantro.
It was yet again, another outstanding tom yum goong – amazing spice, sourness, and shrimp flavor.
Maeklong Market (ตลาดแม่กลอง)
Just a short drive from Bang Khong Thi is the more significant town of Maeklong(แม่กลอง), Thailand, home to numerous markets, including the famous Maeklong railway market.
Maeklong market (Talad Maeklong ตลาดแม่กลอง) is especially famous for for its seafood, similar to the Samut Prakan market.
First we walked around the main section of the market, checking out all the fresh seafood.
Maeklong mackerel (pla too maeklong) ปลาทูแม่กลอง
Samut Songkhram (Maeklong) is famous throughout Thailand for its mackerel fish – it’s one of those things that if local Bangkok residents visit, they need to bring back home.
However, something I learned was that the big jumbo sized mackerel are actually not from Maeklong (or even from Thailand at all), but they are from India.
The small ones, are the local Maeklong mackerel.
See the difference? (especially in the side by side comparison above)
There are many other interesting things available at the Maeklong Market, including a few famous and colorful dried fruit shops.
Lunch at Rong Raem Thai Sawadee (โรงแรมไทยสวัสดี)
The market is most famous for the Maeklong railway market, a train that passes right through the middle of the market…
However, the train only passes through a couple of times per day, and after walking around the main area of the market, we then had about 1.5 hours to hang out before the train came.
That’s when we decided to have lunch at a well known, old-school, khao man gai (which is Thai rice and chicken ข้าวมันไก่) restaurant, known as Rong Raem Thai Sawadee (โรงแรมไทยสวัสดี).
The khao man gai (ข้าวมันไก่) was alright, the chicken was nice and juicy, and the rice was flavorful.
I didn’t like the sauce too much though, as it was a little too sweet and not spicy enough for me, but it made an alright quick lunch.
Talad Rom Hoop (Maeklong Railway Market) ตลาดร่มหุบ
Way back in 2011, Ying and I visited the Maeklong train market. Back then, it was not nearly as well known as it is now. Nowadays, if you visit the market, you’ll find bus loads of visitors.
The main section of the market is called the Maeklong Market (ตลาดแม่กลอง), but the section along the railway tracks is referred to as Rom Hoop Market (ตลาดร่มหุบ).
The market is known as the Maeklong railway market because a train runs straight through the middle… literally.
The railroad track is actually the walkway of the market, and vendors sell on both sides of the tracks.
We still had about 15 minutes after lunch and before the train came, so Ying saw some durian and couldn’t resist.
What better way to wait for the train than with a mouthful of durian!?
Along with the unique attraction of a train rolling straight through the middle of a functioning market, the Maeklong railroad market is also full of unique and interesting things for sale.
There are so many different types of fish, seafood, vegetables, and fruits available.
Samut Songkhram province in famous for its seafood, and like I already mentioned, its pla too (mackerel).
When the loudspeaker bell rang, we knew the train was coming soon.
This lady, was especially kind, chatting away, and explaining about the railway market to us.
Before the train comes passing through, it’s important to find a place to stand, making sure you’re out of the way of the train.
Maeklong railway market
The highlight and reason why the Maeklong railway market is so famous throughout Thailand is because of the train.
Just seconds before the train comes through, vendors scramble to roll in their vegetables and fresh seafood, and reel in their canvas awnings to make way for the train.
The train doesn’t come too fast (I’ll be sharing a video about it soon), but it does come extremely close to the shops.
As soon as the train passes, the vendors almost instantaneously roll back out their shops, and bring down their awnings, and the railway market comes back to life.
After seeing the train pass through, we then walked back through Rom Hoop Market, and back through Maeklong market, and onto one of the main roads in Maeklong town, just outside of the market.
The streets were filled with seafood snacks, like these dried and candied clams (หอยลายสามรส).
Nam Prik Puthon (น้ำพริกภูธร)
Our next stop wasNam Prik Puthon (น้ำพริกภูธร), a well known street food stall in Maeklong that serves Thai nam prik chili sauces.
The cart was huge, packed full of boiled vegetables, omelets teeming with climbing wattle, and then about 10 – 15 different types of Thai nam priks available (nam prik is the Thai word for chili sauces).
For the scene, I mostly just explained about what Thai nam prik is, and how it’s eaten throughout Thailand.
The owners of Nam Prik Puthon (น้ำพริกภูธร) were extremely friendly, offering me taste tests of many of their selection.
Though Nam Prik Puthon (น้ำพริกภูธร) is only a takeaway street food stall, they had a small bench on the sidewalk, where we decided to eat, in order to film a scene.
Their nam priks were outstanding.
I especially loved their version of nam prik pla ra (น้ำพริกปลาร้า), a chili dip filled with roasted chilies and a nice flavor of fermented fish sauce, and their nam prik da daeng maeng da (น้ำพริกตาแดงแมงดา), red eye chili sauce flavored with the essence of the giant water bug.
Maeng da (แมงดา) beetles are common in Thai nam priks and give the chili sauce an almost licorice flavor.
After devouring the delicious selection of nam prik, we were all quite tired from the past few days, and we called it a day.
The van picked us up in Maeklong, and we made the drive back to Bangkok. It was another wonderful day, and it was great to see the Maeklong railway market for the second time.
(NOTE: I’m the host of a Thai food TV show, and for about 2 months I’ll be traveling around Thailand eating and filming. I’ll be doing my best to blog about everything we do and eat. You can check out the full series here.)
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