Any city with great restaurants will have great markets, and Bangkok is no exception. But until a few months ago, it didn’t have a farmer’s market. The dreamers at Bo.lan decided to change that (bless their souls) by hosting one in their courtyard, the Bangkok Farmer’s Market, and now the event is the next big thing in Bangkok weekend’ing and is oozing dopeness.
Now KohSpot likes Bangkok’s markets as much as the next gal, and they offer a unique adventure and history lesson for tourists and cooking class patrons alike. But Talat Klong Toei, perhaps the city’s biggest and most famous market, smells like an eviscerated decomposing soi dog marinated with fish sauce and chili. We’ve thrown up in our mouths too many times to count in these markets.
While you won’t find the bargain prices you do at Thai markets, the Bangkok Farmer’s Market is a much more pleasant way to spend a few hours on a lazy Saturday. And the organic quality and creativity of the vendors can’t be beat.
Perhaps our favorite aspect of the farmer’s market is you get to experience entrepreneurs who are perfecting their craft, sometimes before they open a shopfront. For example, Joe Sloane was working in the restaurant business when he realized what he really loved was butchery. He only sells wholesale right now, but his sausages often sell out at the farmer’s market before 11 am, so we think he could do a mean business if he had the inclination to open an eatery. The Brit makes a lovely Cumberland and even fries up some chops, as well as producing mouthwatering sauces.
The market is the first Saturday of the month from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm and does feature some actual farms. Raitong organic rice from Sisaket is on offer, as is Murrah Farm dairy, the only buffalo dairy farm in the kingdom. The June edition was perhaps more hectic than usual as chefs Jess and Peter from new restaurants Quince and Smith, respectively, held a televised pop-up cooking competition using local ingredients from the market. Chef Peter whipped up a lamb and rice concoction while Jess went with a delicious eggplant, sausage and microgreen mash-up on artisanal bread.
Not every vendor shows up every month, but KohSpot still has fond remembrances of the old lady from Nonthaburi that ladled out fish curry over colored khanom jeen topped with a rainbow of edible flowers she grows in her garden. We’ve never had a more beautiful meal for 30 baht, and these are the types of people you get to meet at these markets.
Another guy we like is an American micro-brewer who had to smuggle his gear in from Singapore because of Thailand’s ridiculous alcohol laws written by the two giant brewing monopolies. He can’t open a shopfront because it would be illegal, but he’s proof that word of mouth and a little skill can make a living at venues like farmer’s markets, because he clowns Thailand’s sad attempts at venturing past pilsner.
The market is quite kid and dog-friendly, with seed paper-making and foraging keeping the tykes engaged while mommy and daddy throw back some much deserved libations.
The folks in charge at Bo.lan are committed to using local ingredients; that’s why they wanted to give some dap to their suppliers. It’s also a chance to check out the Thai food stylings at the restaurant, if you have any room left.
This is one of the coolest movements in Bangkok right now and one we fully support each month.
Bangkok Farmer’s Market
Location: The courtyard in front of Bo.lan, Sukhumvit Soi 26, Soi Pichai Ronnarong, the soi adjacent to Four Wings Hotel. If you’re coming from Sukhumvit, go down until the road jogs left and take the first soi on your right, conversely if coming from Rama IV Road, take the jog left and take the first soi on your left, before the Soi 26 straightens out again. It’s about 70 meters down Soi Pichai Ronnarong.
Mass transit: BTS Phrom Pong
Hours: 8:30 am-2:30 pm the first Saturday of the month, but it’s often best to arrive before noon as several of the best vendors run out by then.
Phone: Bo.lan 02-260-2962