Suan Lum Night Bazaar
When I was planning my original not-to-be trip to Thailand for November 2008, I kept reading how the Suan Lum night bazaar was on the verge of closing and it could happen at any moment. The sprawling, less dense and slightly less skin scalding (though no less humid) than Chatuchak night market in the center of Bangkok, lost its lease in 2007. Yet it was still there in 2008 even though I couldn’t get into Suvarnabhumi, and it was still there in March 2010 when I finally did make it to Bangkok.
I wasn’t there to bargain or shop (James bought a “Prada” wallet) though I did spy some very cool shoes. I really liked those colorful oxford flats. However, I gave up on trying to buy clothing and shoes in SE Asia long ago (I had my eye out for Fat Story, supposedly at Suan Lum, at the very least for a photo op). It’s not worth the humiliation—if you’re larger than an American size 8 in either shoe or dress I suggest you find other pursuits in Thailand.
Like eating. Suan Lum has a food court/beer garden with an enormous amount of seating and a large stage with a video monitor to showcase the er, entertainment. James said it all, “I’ve never heard so much bad singing in public.” True, no shame from Filipino cover bands at hotel lounges, the blind with microphones shuffling through tourist markets or the highly choreographed, costumed dance routines of the bands performing tone deaf Thai pop at Suan Lum. It hurts less when you can’t understand the words.
But it’s all good fun. The food, I suspect is pricier than what you could get off the street and toned down a notch for foreigners, but is still quite tasty and hardly a rip off. Plus, there’s lots of beer and those outdoor misters you encounter all over Thailand and Malaysia that don’t even come close to approximating air conditioning but you’re thankful for anyway. You will never be able to stop sweating completely, maybe even if you lived there for a decade. I don’t think we spent more than $10 in newsprint stapled together tickets, which you buy from one booth and get your remainder refunded at another window upon leaving.
I really took a shining to som tam this vacation. I don’t think I’ve eat so much papaya salad in a two-week period. This seafood-laded version could’ve been spicer, though I might not have realized how demure it was if we hadn’t just been pummeled by what I’d expected to be a run-of-the-mill street version in a go-go bar corner of Hua Hin.
The same stand also had fried pork neck with a chile dipping sauce. So simple and fatty, perfect drinking food.
I didn’t eat any pad thai in Thailand. It was probably good. I was just shying away from the obvious American choice. I do wonder if that’s an American thing or a if pad thai is the most popular dish everywhere outside Thailand.
Oyster omelet was a random choice. It’s not my favorite dish; even good versions are kind of greasy, filling and starchy. I bought a bottle of Heinz chili sauce, also called sriracha but slightly sweeter and more orange than the popular Huy Fong brand (yes, Vietnamese-American) condiment in the states. Maybe I’ll attempt this eggy dish at home.
I’m not even sure what they were selling at Staek House.
There was no question what they were slinging at French Fries.
Suan Lum Night Bazaar * Corner of Wireless and Rama IV Rds., * Bangkok, Thailand