I‘ve saved the best for the last. For you city-dwellers, apart from picking the right hotel/resort and hitting the beaches and islands hard during the day, you’d definitely want to avoid doing yourself a grave injustice and pay a visit to the night markets of Phuket before leaving on a jet plane. Depending on your risk appetite, the potpourri of sights, sounds and scents could excite you or assail your senses. If you identify with the latter, I’d still urge you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new.
The good thing about renting your own car is the freedom to go anywhere and do anything as you damn please. We were driving towards Patong for dinner, but ended up catching sight of a decent market opposite Fantasea (the touristy Elephant show which we purposely missed). Our initial experience there left us wanting more, so much so that we went out hunting for the largest night market in Phuket even on our last night. See map below for its approximate location – the road name it lies along is called Wirat Hong Yok.
The cheap prices for clothes, accessories and food at these markets certainly added to their allure, as prices around all of Phuket were higher than what one could get at Bangkok. There was just a lot of sights one could see – a natural haven for street/documentary photography, my favourite style of the lot (with landscape a close second). I flitted from stall to stall, my trusty Lumix LX-3 in one hand and a bowl or packet of food in the other, munching and snapping away. Ahh…heaven.
And no, we never got a single stomachache despite how unhygienic some of these stalls might have looked. Besides, what can’t kill you can only make you stronger *wink*. The following were some of the notable snacks/food that I ate:
- Grilled squid in skewers – I went crazy and picked five of these multi-armed undersea critters, which were grilled and served to me in a clear plastic bag with some special spicy/limey sauce; totally awesome, and certainly an overdose of cholesterol. Luckily I’m still young and can abuse my body for a while more;
- Thai crackers – dough thinly-spread on a hot plate, with a wad of whipped cream and coconut fillings rolled up into half; sweet, crispy and totally delectable; remember to buy more, because these disappear down your oesophagus real fast;
- Yam MaMa – spicy and limey instant mee typically prepared with seafood, Thai-styled; an all-time favourite for my girlfriend and I;
- Kway Chap with Pig Offals – this was a surprise find at the night market near Big C. At 30 THB (S$1.50 or so), I got a good serving of noodles (粿汁) and pig’s innards in a splendid dark brew, with a sit-down table and a jug of water. Kway Chap is a Teochew dish of flat, broad rice sheets in a soup made with dark soy sauce, served with pig offal, braised duck meat, various kinds of beancurd, preserved salted vegetables, and braised hard-boiled eggs; and
- Thai-styled Meat Balls – these looked like strunged-up meat balls that the stall owner cut and serve with a spicy sauce, but tasted more like a mixture of meat and glutinuous rice blended into balls; I didn’t like these as much;
Check out my photos in the following slideshow. If you’ve been to the night markets in Phuket as well, leave me a note about your experiences too![slideshow id=10]