Chatuchak in Bangkok is the place for the famous Chatuchak weekend market and many upcoming wholesale market places for all types of products, food and gift or household items. Not far from the Chatuchak weekend market is the Marketing Organisation for Farmers or better known as OTOKOR.
Getting to OTOKOR is easy by MRT train or taxi. We went by the fastest and most convenient way which was by MRT (Metro Rail Transit). The interchange from the BTS skytrain is Asok BTS and taking the MRT line heading to Bang Sue MRT station. The Kamphaeng Phet MRT station stop is the 2nd last stop for the MRT line and exit at entrance 3. The MRT fare is THB37 from Asok BTS interchange. The entrance number 3 brings you right out to the OTOKOR market and if you like, you can even take a taxi later to JJ Market on weekends or hop back on the MRT to stop at Chatuchak Park MRT station which is the next stop back from Kamphaeng Phet stop.
Most of the produce in this market are fresh from the farms to customers though some fruits are imported and of the triple “A” quality, which makes them a little on the pricey side. While the OTOKOR market is not the biggest but it is the cleanest and listed in the CNN best fresh market in the world. This is also one of the most popular fresh market for middle to upper income Thais as the quality of the items are impeccable. It is also a great place if you are looking to buy fruits to take back as souvenirs or as gifts. You will find rows of super large local fruits and even imported ones all nicely packed or freshly cut for consumption.
The most popular fruit here is off course the “King of Fruits” the durian. Thai durians are eaten unripe and the notorious smell of this fruit is limited because it is not yet quite ripe. There are different species of durian which is a green thorny fruit with custard coloured segments of pulpy fruit. The smell of the durian is unique and maybe unbearable for some but the taste is remarkably rich and sweet. Thai durians have very fleshy segments with small seeds. The durians are sold ready packed in two or three segments or by the fruit in kilos. The most expensive species can cost a cool THB1200 for a fruit!
Nam prik or Thai chili paste of all kinds are also sold at this market. They are displayed in large bowls and look like little mounds of coloured paste. You can get chili paste for green curries, red curries or even a mix of paste for other types of curries from the four different corners of Thailand. Other fresh spices and herbs are also available for you to make any Thai dish you desire so this is also a paradise for aspiring cooks and chefs who like to do their own cooking. Chili paste is sold by the grams and prices range from THB20 or more depending on the type of paste per gram.
In the middle of the market are rows of preserved fruit and nut vendors who sell all manner of preserved fruits in Thailand such as mangoes, pineapples, papayas and nuts such as cashew nuts, pistachio and almonds among others. These items are all fresh and perfect as snacks or to be mixed for cooking, cereals or cakes. There are many varieties of cashew nuts here with different flavours such as salted, baked with honey or tom yum flavoured. Prices for a small bag starts at THB100 for the cashew nuts and dried fruits.
Next to the preserved fruit and nut sellers are dried seafood produce vendors that sell salted dried fish, shrimps, squids and cuttle fish. These are mostly used for cooking soups, vegetable dishes or eaten steamed on its own like the salted fish. Some of these vendors also sell dried seafood snacks like flavoured anchovies, small crabs and shrimps which are rather tasty and come in honeyed, tom yum or seaweed flavours. These dried seafood snacks are very popular with tourists and you can be assured they are very fresh here.
The right section of the market is mostly dedicated to an enormous variety of prepared takeaway foods, cooked snacks and desserts, cooked seafood, rice dishes from the South of Thailand and Northern Thailand as well as a food court with plenty of seating place to eat your takeaway foods. This section is also the most aromatic smelling with all the delicious cooked Thai foods to whet your appetite and make you drool with the rows of colourful food displays. You can try the ready to takeaway stalls that has a variety of cooked dishes such as stuffed baby squids, steamed pork, a curry paste steamed with fresh fish, prawns or crab called “hor mok” and even duck curry. There is also a stall that sells delicious crab dumplings which is a must try and they come ready packed in takeaway containers which sell for around THB150 a pack.
here is also a stall that sells crispy roasted pork called “moo kop” that is nice eaten with a chili dipping sauce or further down is a stall that sells traditional Thai desserts of gingko nuts with syrup, a coconut milk dessert that has flour coated water chestnuts called “tub thim krop”. There is also a stall that sells all types of chili condiments containing fish, shrimps, nuts and herbs which is absolutely delicious eaten with rice and fresh vegetables or even with plain bread and butter!
The food court itself is laden with an appetizing array of dishes such as roasted duck with rice, Thai economy rice with a variety of curries (khao kaeng ), steamed and shelled crabs and prawns so you do not have to trouble yourself peeling them, crab and prawn pot noodles, Isaan sausages and a variety of grilled chicken and pork satay. This market is very popular for breakfast and lunch crowds and prices are about average at THB70 for the roasted duck rice with crispy pork or curried rice (khao kaeng ).
Just outside the market near the parking lot is a shop that is very famous for grilled dishes and green papaya salad (som tum). They served grilled chicken, pork and fish which can be eaten with sticky rice or white rice and som tum salad. This place is also very popular and best to go early in order to get a seat as seating here is limited.
Visiting the OTOKOR market is one of the most interesting and wonderful Thai cuisine adventures to try a variety of Thai food in one place. To complete your Thai food discovery adventure, you can go for a cup of coffee or tea at the Princess project shop at the far corner of the food court or just outside at the Amazon coffee shop before proceeding to your next day trip adventure in Bangkok.