Hua Hin’s Chit-Chai day market smells like all sorts of nasty, a combination of chopped-up eel, old pork, and expired shellfish. If I were alone I would hesitate to enter the market, but our friend Denis is hobbling ahead of me on his crutches, and by all of the laws of houseguesttery, we are obliged to follow.
The market is indeed heavy on the produce of the sea. There are live fish and fish on ice, fish without heads and piles of fish entrails. There are live eels and live frogs, live clams and live snails, and dried fish in a million varieties. There is dried shrimp mixed with chili and sugar, a delicious snack for mid-day tea.
A smiling woman runs a coconut stand with two machines. The first shreds the coconut flesh, and the second extracts the coconut milk from the shredded flesh. She notices us watching and offers us a large piece of coconut, which we all take bites of. It’s delicious, of course. Then she reaches down and pops open a couple of coconuts, giving them to us to drink. It’s cliché, but coconut water directly from a chilled coconut is so, so good. It is satisfying in a way that no manufactured beverage can ever achieve. And there is no way to know this unless you travel to a tropical country, pull a coconut out of a bucket of iced water, pop it open with a knife, and drink deeply.
Bobby offers her a few hundred baht for the coconuts, and she refuses to take it. She smiles and bows to us, and we bow back, thanking her profusely.
Bobby falls in love with a pair of Batz Maru sunglasses being sold for 79฿ (US$2.50). Being Chinese, Bobby tried to talk her down to 60฿ ($1.82). The vendor stared at Bobby for a moment, then laughed once before turning away. Bobby ended up paying full price, and you could tell that it burned him.
Here is the vendor modeling them for us! Doesn’t she look fabulous? Have I mentioned how friendly the Thai people are?
Absolutely don’t miss…
A restaurant just off the beach on Soi 83 in Hua Hin, Chid-Tha-Lay is run by a semi-retired Miss Thailand and movie star. The food is amazing, authentically Thai and delicious, with a wonderful amount of variety. Eat dinner here… you won’t regret it.
+66 (0)81 643 2707 / +66 (0)87 107 5331 / (email hidden in RSS feeds)
Khommaphat printed cotton
Hua Hin is known for a wonderfully printed cotton fabric called pha phim khommaphat. A few shops around town make this fabric into beautifully-constructed button-down shirts, the Hua Hin equivalent of ‘Aloha Shirts’ for approximately 1,000฿ ($30) apiece. The shop Khomapastr sells an amazing range of fabrics in the Khommaphat style, and some very nice products made with these fabrics. Men’s shirts are 1,050฿, though some are a little more expensive.
Hin Lek Fai
A quirky but delicious eating place in the hills above Hua Hin. The proprietor is Monty-Python-esque, and his wife is a brilliant cook. It’s a little hard to find, but worth the effort. Serves a Thai / European fusion cuisine.