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Pier Pleasure
BK explores Talad Nam Taling Chan for klong-side treats

By Nuttaporn Srisirirungsimakul | Sep 13, 2007

  • Pier Pleasure
  • Pier Pleasure
  • Pier Pleasure
  • Pier Pleasure

If your typical weekend meal involves standard mall fast food (plus wasted hours trapped in parking garages), take refuge from the frenetic city streets and catch a ride to a talad nam, where a good dose of traditional lifestyle and a plethora of food await. No, we’re not suggesting the touristy Damneon Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi. Believe it or not, Bangkok also has its own floating market: Taling Chan Floating Market.

Located adjacent to the Taling Chan District Office, Taling Chan Floating Market (Chim Plee Rd. Sat-Sun, 8am-5pm) was started in 1987 by Prachum Charoenlap, then Taling Chan District Director. Initially, it was just a small marketplace of five bamboo rafts on Klong Chak Pra where you could find locally grown food and noodles. As the word caught on and people began to flock to it, Taling Chan Floating Market expanded to meet the demand. It now features iron piers, as well as stalls on land.

Dine on the dock
Once you arrive, you are greeted with rows of trestle tables and stalls stacked with fresh produce and plants. Shrub dealers and urban gardeners go crazy over colorful bedding plants, flowers and trees available in terracotta pots and hanging baskets. Highlights are vivid orchids (B15/bunch) and “Million Hearts” (B30) at a crowded stall on the right.

A few steps away are numerous stalls that lure in hungry foodies with everything from huge hor mok (mixed seafood souffle steamed in banana leaf) and crispy deep-fried spring rolls to northern sausage with namprik num and massaman. Don’t forget to check out the Thai desserts. Freshly made khanom thuay (steamed coconut pudding) at the front stall on the left is rich and yummy, and a few steps across is another dessert stall packed with various egg-yolk based sweets like thong yord, thong yip and foy thong—all served in tiny banana-leaf cups (B12-20). The sangkhaya fak thong (custard-filled pumpkin, B30) is also worth a try. At the end of the dock is the luuk chup boat-turn-stall, where you can choose your favorite miniature fruit and vegetable-shaped dessert (B20/14 pieces).

If you need to rest your feet while enjoying your treats, there are a handful of tables under a tent in the shade next to the canal. Satisfy your sweet tooth and your soft spot for look thung music, courtesy of the one-man-show entertainer, who croons his favorite ballads for the crowd all day long.

Floating delights
If you still have room left (and you aren’t seasick), there are more substantial eats available on the pier. Low-rise tables are sandwiched in the middle, while a good range of boat vendors are grilling, frying, boiling and baking beside the rafts. It’s usually busy around 11am, but not crowded, so you can easily find a table. The vendors are welcoming and friendly, shuffling snacks from flanking stalls to the hungry customers.

Seafood takes center stage as hordes of families chomp away on grilled fish and steamed crabs. Among the many stalls, our favorite is Taew Seafood. The short menu is limited to just grilled prawns and crabs (B100) and grilled salt-coated serpent-head fish and cottonfish (B100-130), but the seafood dip is so saap.

Another popular stall is Jae Dang, set at the right side of the float. We’ve never seen Jae Dang, but her khanom jeen (B20) is so yummy that many TV programs have paid this humble stall a visit. Choose your favorite sauce from sao nam (pineapple, coconut, dried shrimp, ginger and garlic), namprik (nutty and creamy curry) or namya (ground fish curry). Her mee krati (noodles with coconut milk, B20), though sweet, is delicious.

At the other end is Pa Ri, where crispy hawy tord (oysters fried with eggs and bean sprouts, B25) and pork satay (B40) are the specialties.

For a complete talad nam trip, book a klong tour at the booth on the dock, and hop on a long-tail boat to get in touch with the riverside lifestyle and visit neighborhood orchid nurseries and vegetable orchards. The two-hour tour (B70 for adults and B40 for children) takes off every weekend, 8am-4pm.

How to get there
By car: Parking is free at the Taling Chan District Office.
By bus: Hop on buses No. 79 or 83.

Keep on Floating
If you don’t mind driving a bit further, check out these floating markets.

Talad Nam Bang Nam Phueng
What: Lots of food with hawy tord kanom khrok (dumpling-shape oyster omelet) and Thai dessert as the highlights. Between meals enjoy a massage, row, row, row your boat or pick up some batik paintings.
Where: Phra Padaeng, Samutprakarn. Sat-Sun 8am-6pm. (Takes buses No. 82 and 138 or a ferry at the pier at Wat Klong Toey Nok.)

Talad Nam Ampawa
What: Old-school floating market with traditional Thai houses, old-fashioned toys and firefly tours.
Where: Samut Songkram. Fri-Sun 4pm onwards. (Take a Bangkok-Damnoen Saduak bus No. 996, or Bangkok-Samutsongkram No. 976 at the Southern Bus Terminal.)

Talad Nam Damnoen Saduak
What: Since it was founded in 1967, this touristy floating market remains as popular as ever. You can shop on land or hop in a long-tail boat to haggle with the vendors face-to-face.
Where: Amphur Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi. Daily 6am-noon. (Take Bangkok-Damnoen Saduak bus No. 996 at the Southern Bus Terminal.)

Talad Nam Lam Phraya
What: Locally grown fruits and veggies, along with Thai desserts made on the spot. Don’t forget to check out the handicrafts.
Where: Wat Lam Phraya, Banglen, Nakorn Prathom. Sat-Sun 8am-4pm.

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