The Chatuchak Market (colloquially called “JJ” due to the local pronounciation) provides a wide selection of street food and restaurants, surrounded by unique shopping. The biggest market in Thailand, it has 15,000 stalls and over 200,000 people visit each week. We’re not really sure which of those brings in the crowd, but there’s few places we’d rather be to see the hustle, bustle, and diversity that is the Friday Weekend Market here. Come hungry, the food is plentiful and delicious!
Note: this article is routinely updated as we eat our way through the market.
A favorite cheap eat is the 5 baht (about 15 US cents) popsicles. They’re a quick, and cool you down on a hot Bangkok day. The low tech freezing device the vendors use are pretty brilliant. Just metal tubes in ice. They pour liquid, usually soda or juice, into the tubes, drop wooden skewer into it and wait. Watching the vendor get it out is half the fun.
There’s a whole variety of flavors, we tried coke, and it was exactly what we expected. Frozen coke.
Stephanie loves octopus, and this fried octopus vendor did not disappoint. It comes in a plastic bag, swimming in a healthy scoop of the green mystery “seafood sauce” shown in the glass container. You’re given a skewer for your utensil to poke away at tentacles while trying not to puncture the bag. A little spicy, a little sour, definitely chewy. Even if you’re squeamish you have to try it.
We’ve seen a few of these stands strewn about the market.
This is a surprisingly refreshing soup. The broth is light, the vegetables give a freshness to every bite, and the duck is incredibly flavorful and tender. This is a hard stand to find, we actually walked by it during our first lap of the market and then spent more than a half an hour trying to find it again. Perhaps it was the anticipation, or perhaps it was the soup, but this was one of the best meals we’ve had in the market.
Delicious, but of unknown origin.
Lots of options for those who are willing to try them. We found this one to be particularly tasty.
Back home, pad thai held one of the top three places in Kyle’s inner fat person’s heart. This was the first time we tried it in Thailand, and it did not disappoint. A little sweet, a little fishy, maybe a hint of tamarind, the noodles cooked to perfection. Topped with a bit of this, a bit of that from the spice and sauce options on the table, and everyone was pleased. We questioned ourselves for a moment, ordering something so generic when there are so many options in the market, but it did not disappoint.
The best day to go, in our opinion, is Friday night. That’s when everything, food stalls and shopping spots, are open. Technically the market runs from 6pm to midnight on Fridays, but in the true local fashion most stalls won’t be open till well after six. Saturdays and Sundays are good options if you can’t make it on Friday, but the market is only open during the day on weekends, closing at about 6pm.
Either the skytrain or subway can take you to the market.
BRT – take Sukhumvit line to Mo Chit Station. Exit and follow the crowd. There will be lines of street vendors that will increase as you get closer. The sideway is narrow and it’s a high volume path, so be prepared to take your time and get close to people. MRT is a closer option for your return if you’re carrying loads of purchases.
MRT – take the Blue Line to Kamphaeng Phet Station. Exit, and you’re in the Southwest corner of the market. Easy Peasy.