In this week’s video I’ve gone through Or Tor Kor market and tried to highlight some of the tastiest things there. If you’re unfamiliar with this market, it’s the most upscale fresh market in Bangkok. The market is organized, clean, and well lit. Each of the stalls is numbered and they make efforts to reduce competition and keep what’s available diverse by regulating what the vendors can and can’t sell.
The result is an easy to reach fresh market with beautiful seafood, fruit, and vegetables. BUT that’s only half the market. The other half of the market is dedicated to ready to eat or take home food. This includes a food court with plenty of options. All of this combines to make the market the best market for newcomers, especially tourists visiting for a short time, to visit for street food eats and for an authentic Thai market experience. The market is often overshadowed Chatuchak weekend market, which is more well known by tourists, but you should definitely not got do any shopping in this sweltering heat without having a cold drink and nice meal first.
So here’s 10 tasty things to try in Or Tor Kor or OTK market, which I believe if you’re new to Thailand should be the first market you visit!
Shout out to youtube star Mark Wiens for joining in this episode full of messy food, fruit, and innuendo!
1) Gnarly Looking GAC Fruit (fahk khao or ฟักข้าว)
First up is the fruit that looks like an alien’s intestines, with a bright red flesh and spiky outer orange peel. The GAC fruit or fahk khao in Thai, looks like it would either kill you or heal you, and if I saw it in the wild I can’t honestly say I’d be able to tell which. Despite the strange and unpleasant appearance, it doesn’t really have much of a taste. To me the taste is like the flesh of pureed, raw pumpkin.
Farmers will take the fleshy inside and blend it with other fruits to make it taste better. There is only one woman selling the strange GAC fruit in Or Tor Kor market and like many vendors in addition to offering the raw juice, she has a more popular blend where the GAC fruit is mixed with the sour, sweet fruit of passion fruit. I recommend you try the mix and not the actual fruit itself unless you’re an Asian fruits nerd like me.
Like many bizarre fruits, it’s also super healthy for you!
2) Lemongrass Spiced Northern Thai Sai Oua Sausage (ไส้อั่ว)
This stuff man. It’s spicy, herbaceous, and fatty. Certainly hits the spot and if you’ve ever been to the Northern city of Chiang Mai, Thailand you know this all too well. In general Northern Thais (largely due to the influence of Burmese and Laitian neighbors) are known for their sausage making skills.
Just like finding a great Northern Thai restaurant in Bangkok can be a pain, so is getting a vendor doing a spicy version of this sai oua sausage. The Or Tor Kor vendor, hailing from the Northern Thai province of Lamphun, is super sweet and has been in a few newspapers. You can purchase a tasting version and it’s usually sold per 100 grams (called a chid in Thai). You can eat it by itself, throw it in a hot dog, chop it up in a salad or whatever. Thais enjoy it with fried pork skins (kap moo) and the spicy, slimy green chili paste (nam prik noom).
3) The Point and Choose Khao Gaeng Eatery (ข้าวแกง)
I love to talk about the khao gaeng style of eating because it’s so intimidating to so many people. But you shouldn’t be intimidated, especially when you can trust the quality of the food from the vendor. I do recommend a look around the stalls at Or Tor Kor. They are constantly cooking and replenishing the dishes which sell quickly, which is always a good sign. This vendor also has a ton of selection, so you may not like everything you choose, but when it only costs a two dollars you can always go back for more, or opt to try something different. If you’re up to it give one of these popular stalls a try and up your Thai food lovin’ game, Or Tor Kor is the perfect place!
4) Charcoal Roasted Pork Satay Skewers of Pork and Chicken (หมูสะเต๊ะ)
This is the Thai adaptation of the Indo-Malay satay meat skewers. This primitive form of a kebab gets its flavor from being expertly cooked over charcoal. You want to eat this from an experienced vendor who’s sales lots because even though it looks easy, getting the temperature of the coals right, slicing the meat to the right thickness, and being able to make a tasty peanut sauce to accompany grilled chunks of meat is key! Thais of course enjoy this dish with pork, which is juicier than some of the chicken versions. Decide for yourself!
5) The Rich Blood Broth of Thai Boat Noodles (ก๊วยเตี๋ยวเรือ)
One of the vendors in the food court is a family selling boat noodles. They are the pork blood noodles that many tourists go crazy about trying, especially for the popular vendors near Victory Monument. The special thing about them is the rich broth, that has both blood cooked into the soup broth and is usually given an extra shot of blood before your bowl makes it to the table. Sounds gross, but all of that pork flavor, combined with Chinese spices, and chewy pork balls and liver makes these cheap little bowls delicious. Try your first bowl here and if you try the more famous street food vendors doing boat noodles later, you’ll have some ground for comparing the two places!
6) Thailand’s Famous Juicy Marinated and Grilled “Gai Yang” Chicken (ไก่ย่าง)
This was so good that while snacking on a plate with Youtuber Mark Wiens, I forgot to mention it. The vendor at Or Tor Kor market is famous and they must grill a ton of chickens because they’re always busy. They spend a lot of time marinating the ahead of time and the best vendors don’t take any shortcuts, by hand rubbing on the marinades and cooking the chickens over charcoal.
You should be able to find this vendor called Sood Jai Gai Yang and Som Tam (สุดใจไก่ย่าง ส้มตำ อ.ต.ก.) pretty easily because of the crowds, but their stall number is 9/26. Look for the smokey and flavorful chicken to make a more prominent appearance in Mark’s Bangkok vlog series when he launches them in a couple of weeks. Then we can all see if Mark thinks they’re the champion issan stall around town as their signage claims in Thai.
7) Thai Rice Flower “Khanom Bueng” Chips with Toppings (ขนมเบื้อง)
I didn’t have a chance to say everything I wanted to about khanom bueng, the Thai dessert in the video that’s whipped up by spreading rice flour based batter thinly on a hot plate. It’s a little hard to describe since there aren’t many western snacks similar. I guess the closest thing to the texture would be thin, crispy potato chip with sweet and savory toppings, including crazy stuff like pork floss and dried shrimp, or such as the dried persimmon in the one I tried.
Like many Thai desserts it comes from an era before it the super sweet western desserts had taken over the world. Back then, it was more accepted (in Asia and all over the world) for a sweet treat to be not so sweet and have strong savory notes. This vendor makes it the traditional way without the soft cream filling and the modern version with cream, made of whipped egg whites and sugar, that balances out the crunchy texture of the wafer and significantly sweetens the treat. Depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have will decide whether you like the traditional version or it’s contemporary adaptation.
8) Mildly Pungent Thai “Nam Prik Rong Reau” Chili Paste (น้ำพริกลงเรือ)
This smelly spicy paste is the central Thai version used in many tasty stir fries, combine it to fry rice, or more commonly just eat it as it is with raw veggies and eggs.
The name, which roughly translates as chili paste made on a boat, comes from the method it was made. Instead of being crushed in a mortar and pestal, it is cooked in the pan. The name and recipe come from the story about a traveling king, who couldn’t live with out this spicy Thai paste. To make sure the king could fulfill his exotic craving, he had the royal staff adapt the recipe to be made without fermented shrimp paste (กะปิ) and to be cooked over the flame, instead of just mixing in the mortar. This made the dish drier, less pungent, and a longer shelf life for the journey!
9) Lose Your Durian Virginity on a Fancy Breed of this Exotic Thai Fruit
Many people have heard of durian by now. However, it’s still the fruit that everyone loves to hate. I think many people coming to Thailand for the first time just don’t have a proper introduction. Everyone should be given their own starter version for the fruit, which would be a crisper, less pungent and unripe version. This is easy to do since this is the type of durian most Bangkok dwellers prefer, not wanting to stink up their houses. However, once you’ve tried the fruit and begin to like it, you can move on to a more sophisticated for of durian, one with a more pungent flavor and smell!
10) Try the Queen of Thai Fruits at the Vendor Selling Giant Mangosteens
Mangosteen is the pairing of choice for eating durian. If the durian is the polarizing king of fruits, mangosteen is the fair queen whose company people actually prefer more than that of the king’s. In the video the fruit is definitely not in season, so I paid a hefty 500 baht for two of the juicy and oversized fruit. I would never pay that much normally, but they did look big and were super juicy. If it’s in season when you visit, you may give it a second thought, but if you traveled from a far places to Bangkok— you can’t miss the opportunity to try, even if they’re $7 each.
Bonus: Thai Fish Cake Paste
Don’t forget the Thai fish cake paste we featured in the channel teaser. If you’re planning to do some cooking in Bangkok you can grab the mix and take it home and fry it. I will definitely be trying to make my own and share the recipe with you in a future episode. So hold on if you want more info on how you can make it yourself!
Thanks for reading, I hope you all found this helpful. These are just a few of the snacks and food to try in the market there are actually too many to list. Check out Or Tor Kor market when you visit Thailand and let me know what you eat!
How to Get to Or Tor Kor Market
Or Tor Kor is near Bangkok’s famous Chatuchak (aka JJ Market) Weekend Market and is a much better place to eat than in the weekend market itself. You can reach it by walking through the underground level of the MRT
Public Transport: MRT Kampaeng Phet
Hours: 6am-8pm, Daily
Location: The market is located in the Chatuchak area, quite close to the weekend market. You will find it at the corner of Paholyotin and Kampaeng Phet Road, across the street from the southwest entrance to the weekend market.
Pro Tip: The closest BTS skytrain station would be Mor Chit (the station you would also take for Chatuchak market), but just be aware if you don’t go through the MRT stop to get there you may need to walk 10 minutes or so in the sun.