Living in Bangkok, Thailand, I’m sometimes spoiled with good produce as it’s everywhere. However, one thing I’m very aware of in Thailand is the amount of pesticides often sprayed onto fruit and vegetables by the large corporations here.
So, lately, I’ve been buying most of my fruit and veg at one of the local farmers markets near my house as I decided “going green” couldn’t hurt me. There are a lot of farmers markets in Thailand. In fact Bangkok has many and since much of the produce the better farmers markets is also certified organic, I shop at them a lot.
There are three farmers markets within a few miles of my house which sell a variety of great food that I highly recommend.
Bon Marche, Prachaniwet 1, Bangkok – Bon Marche is the quintessential farmers market in Bangkok. It’s an upscale open-air market that sells thousands of different items and is especially appealing to the shopper who doesn’t mind paying a little more money for a quality product.
Bon Marche sells pretty much any food product you can think of but is heavy on the fruit and vegetables. Here you’ll find your typical salad items, plus kale, cilantro, Thai basil, mango, papaya, dragon fruit, watermelon, guava and much more. All of it is grown by local farmers and all is the freshest you will see in Bangkok.
Prices are higher than normal Bangkok markets, so expect to pay between 5 baht (14 cents) to 20 baht (56 cents) more per kilo but, for the freshness and the taste, I never mind paying the higher price. Bon Marche also has stalls selling handmade soaps, pastries and breads, nuts, Thai desserts, honey – all made by local area farmers. Bon Marche is open every day from around 6:00 am to 10pm.
Talat Aw Taw Kaw, Kamphaeng Phet Road, Bangkok – My favorite farmers market in Bangkok for vegetables is Talat Aw Taw Kaw. ‘Talat’ is the Thai word for market and this one sells the best produce you’ve seen anywhere. I go here on the weekends to buy vegetables for my rabbits and fruit for myself as they sell a lot of organic vegetables.
They also have a lot of farmers stalls that sell organic chicken and even more stalls selling nuts, dried fruits, dried squid, Thai desserts, flowers and fresh fruit juices. Be warned, prices here are very high (more than double to treble of any other Bangkok market) so I am careful about what I buy, but the sellers are very friendly and the high quality of produce is known throughout Bangkok.
Many of the top restaurants also send their chefs and kitchen staff to buy food here. Easiest way to get to it is to take the sky train to the Kamphaeng Phet station and follow the signs to ‘Exit 3’, which also has a sign saying “Marketing Organization for Farmers”.
They’re open every day but the best time to go is on a Saturday or Sunday because, after shopping there, you can go across the street to Chatuchak Market with over 14,000 stalls that sells everything else in Bangkok.
Talat Sam Yan, Chulalongkorn Soi 6 – Talat Sam Yan is on the other side of Bangkok from where I live but so worth the traveling time. It’s a large market with a wonderful selection of the usual market produce plus stall after stall selling fish and seafood. It’s the best place to buy the enormous prawns that Thailand is famous for, many of which come from local area fish farms, as well as a couple of brands of Thai coffee, grown by small farmers in the north of Thailand.
Getting there isn’t that easy if you don’t know the area so I suggest going by taxi as any taxi driver knows where Talat Sam Yan is.
One of my Thai friends has a Masters degree in agriculture from a famous Thai university and she has always told me to try to eat more of the farmers’ market and organic produce available in Thailand. She says, if you don’t, you’re consuming a much higher amount of pesticides and chemicals than may be legally safe.
Eating farmers market produce and, especially organic produce, is healthy because it’s fresher than produce you buy from a supermarket. You’re also buying directly from local small farmers and supporting the local economy, which in and of itself is a great thing to do. So, the next time you’re in Bangkok, why don’t you join me and ‘go green’ too. It can’t hurt and you’ll be helping the little guy!