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Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Joys of Travel: Food Markets, part 1

Food markets are one of the ultimate joys of travel, aren't they? Whenever we visit a new place one of the first things we do is visit a local fresh food market. They're a microcosm of the society. Markets give you a sensoral introduction to the culture, an insight into its everyday life, a taste of the 'personality' of the place, and some local flavour - quite literally. For us one of the real pleasures is the food itself. And while we like being able to identify the familiar (Oh, they have that here?!), we love nothing more than discovering some unusual ingredient or exotic fruit - and Thailand has plenty of those. And in Thailand, there's the added delight - or horror depending on how you look at it - of seeing slimy creatures swimming around in big bowls of water, ugly frogs that give the cane toad a run for its money, big dishes of deep fried insects, and other icky unidentifiable things bouncing about in plastic bags. The more markets assault your senses the better. Colours so bold they bowl you over, sounds so raucous you're covering your ears, aromas so heady you have to hold your nose... bring it on!

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