After extending our trip in Southeast Asia, Maggie and I decided we weren’t quite done with Thailand. We had just finished up a tour in the east Thai islands but hadn’t gotten the chance to explore the western ones. After a few cocktails we booked our flight and headed off to Karon Beach in Phuket to find some of the biggest waves and tropical beaches we had seen yet.
Karon Beach is south of the more popular Patong Beach, but quite honestly after our nine day party in the east we were looking for a quieter beach. The scenery was well worth the choice but we did quickly learn that tuk tuks to the other parts of Phuket would run up quite a bill.
After a tuk tuk ride to town, we headed straight to the back for the food stands, did a lap to check out what was on offer and then jumped right in.
There were skillets and tables lined with everything you could possibly imagine – squid, quail eggs, chicken, sausage, skewers of things we couldn’t even recognize.
This guy used some magical talent to create ice cream out of thin air. Well almost. He pours a bit of milk down on this ice cold slab and then chops up whatever flavors and fillings you want – oreos, chocolate, fruit, you name it. Somehow the whole mixture eventually resembles ice cream, at which point he spreads it back out across the slab and chisels it up into nice little swirls that he places inside a cup.
The swirly potatoes, or rather tornado fries as some stands have called them, were pre-cut and placed on skewers. The lady then deep fries them in front of you and shakes a variety of spices on top. We ordered ours a bit spicy and found them to be more like fresh potato chips than fries.
I finally got to try this purple fruit, mangosteen, and fell head over heels in love. Ever since, I have not stopped talking about it and quite honestly can’t eat enough! The purple red skin can be cut through neatly like this or simply torn apart barbarically like I later learned. Inside you will find white sections. The larger sections have seeds which I don’t even bother to remove.
I am not fond, however, of this stinky fruit, durian. They cut through the green spikes to reveal a whitish-yellow inside that is eaten raw or used to flavor anything including ice cream around here. You can smell it a mile away.
Maggie got adventurous and tried fried quail egg. I will admit it was hard to tell what was safe for me to try as a vegetarian since everything was just sort of lopped into the frying pan together at a few of the stands.
Our general rule is to follow the crowds and try what looks popular. We call it the tourist effect when a place gets crowded out by the tourists because a few will try it and then everyone else follows suit.
We got a deliciously fresh plate of pad thai to share for our main dish and our worst fear was realized. We got full!!
But then all the baked goods looked so good!
So before heading off to the shopping side of the market we shoveled in a slice of rainbow cake for good measure. It consisted of layered rainbow crepes sandwiched with whipped cream and was accompanied by chocolate sauce for drizzling on top.
I found my own personal heaven in this shop full of not just tiffy tops but entire tiffy outfits!! Naturally I had to buy one of the matching top and bottom combos to channel some Asian fashion into my tiffy top collection.*
All it took was a few laps around the shopping stalls (they have everything from designer knockoffs to little hedgehogs for sale) and we were back at the food to try just a few more things.
This is my favorite market so far. Probably because it is so big and there are just so many things to buy and try for next to nothing. If you are in Phuket head over to town Saturday or Sunday night to enjoy the market while it’s open!!
*Tiffy tops are sheer tops usually of the button up variety, ranging from sleeveless to long sleeve and can be found in a variety of colors. Fondly named tiffy tops after my roommates raided my closet to discover I owned about 20 versions of the exact same sheer top (exact same by their definition not by mine).