Bangkok’s giant Or Tor Kor fresh market (Kamphaeng Phet Rd., MRT Kamphaeng Pet) just ranked number four on CNN’s list of the world’s top 10 fresh markets. But it’s not just about uncooked produce. Here are eight dishes you need to eat at Or Tor Kor and where to find them.
Kanom gui chai at Gui Chai R-Mar (B60-70 small/B200-240 big)
For a light snack, these round, steamed dumplings are hard to beat. Stuffed full of Chinese chives along with other savory fillings—choose between yam-beans, bamboo shoots and taro—the gui chai at this little store racked up one of old-school Thai food critic MR Thanadsri Svasti’s Shell Chuan Chim awards back in 2002. These days, the distinctive recipe still gives every bite a powerful kick—best when dipped in the intense sweet soy sauce.
Zone 10/6, 087-560-6308. Open daily 8.30am-7.30pm
Herbal roast chicken at Sudjaikaiyang (B200)
This clean and airy somtam stall cooks up one of the best roast chickens in Bangkok, given a unique twist of herbs and spices. Non-greasy and with dense, lean meat, every chicken comes from farms in Isaan’s Khao Suan Kwang district, known for its punchy poultry. Enjoy it with somtams that pack powerful flavour, as well as the spicy vermicelli salad (B70). As good as it gets without a trip to Khon Kaen.
Zone 9/25-26, 0816341717. Open daily 8.30am-9.30pm
Pork satay at Moo Satay Heiy Hui (B70 for 10 sticks)
This pork satay store is so confident in its sticks of marinated meat that it guarantees a full refund if you’re not satisfied—the only store in the market which does so. Succulent and delicately spiced, this is some of the best satay we know in Bangkok, and the sides of peanut sauce and achat (pickled cucumber salad) are just as intense.
Zone 10/21, 0818424165. Open daily 9am-5pm
Kaeng hang le at Pen Chan (B50)
After 30 years in Or Tor Kor, Pen Chan has built the market’s top reputation for Northern Thai dishes. Its gaeng hang le, a specialty belly-pork curry of Myanmar origin, brims with extraordinary spices. Pen Chan’s Thai-style recipe sees tamarind added to the sweet soy and peanut sauce, while the pork is delightfully tender. Eat it either in the food court or packed up for takeaway.
Zone 10/16, 0898894284. Open daily 8.30am-6.30pm
Taothueng at Ta-Wan Taothueng-Song-Kreung (B25-30)
Another store to get MR Thanadsri Svasti’s venerable old seal of approval, Taothueng-Song-Kreung elevates the traditional Chinese dessert of cold beans in syrup (taothueng) with many ingredients including ginkgo nuts, lotus seeds, sago, persimmon and dried longan. The result is a fibrous texture and sweet aroma from a fresh, ice-cool longan syrup.
Zone 9/45-46. Open daily 8.30am-6.30pm
Gaeng massaman gai at Kaeng Mae Malee7 (B60)
Mae Malee has cooked up some of the most flavor-packed curry dishes in the city for over 10 years. Our favorite: the intense, sweet and spicy massaman chicken curry—and at a reasonable price, too. The highlight of Mae Malee’s version of this Southern Thai curry is the giant chicken hip served in an extra rich soup with a hint of Thai basil peeking through the coconut milk, soy and peanut sauce. Strong, sweet and spicy.
Zone 9/11-12, 0897701713, 026186913. Open daily 8am-5pm
Fried crispy pork curry at Jiep Moo Krop (B35/100g or B330/1kg)
The best crispy pork in Bangkok? The Channel 5 TV show Wirot Pha Tiao thinks so. Now a chain of restaurants, Or Tor Kor was its first branch, where our favorite dish is the fried crispy pork curry served with steamed rice. Cooked in less oil than your average moo krob, each bite is deliciously crisp—if still not exactly healthy.
Zone 9/28, 081-484-8397. Open daily 8.30am-6pm
Grilled pork at Muyang-Wanhyud (B12 for one stick)
The moo ping (barbecued pork) of this little store is so good that customers snake outside queuing. Muyang-Wanghyud cooks two recipes for its tender slices of rump: one, marinated in coconut milk, the other in fresk milk, before each being grilled on a charcoal brazier.
Zone 10/28, 081-8146594,081-8172931. Open daily 8.30am-7pm
The Story of Or Tor Kor
The immaculate, brightly lit aisles of Or Tor Kor owe their existence to the Marketing Organization for Farmers, which together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative, founded the market in 1974 to heighten the value of Thai agricultural products. Today, the space brims with local specialties from across the country, as well as from some of our Southeast Asian neighbors. The market is split into 12 different zones, the heart of which is the fresh vegetable and fruit stores, with pesticide residue-free certification. But Or Tor Kor is far more than just a fresh market. During the daytime, benches are placed for you to sit, relax and eat your in-market purchases on the spot, while the food court is revered among Bangkok chefs for having some of the best “street” food in the city. Adjacent to the market, the Doi Kham shop is another chefs’ go-to thanks to its large variety of organic vegetables and other grocery products from the Royal Projects. On the rim of the main market, shops and cafes such as Phu Nit, Klum Maeban Kasettakon, and Kafae-Boran (Hat-Yai) also offer delicious food and drinks.