Food is an essential part of the human existence, so it makes sense that food often plays a big role when travelling around the world –not just in terms of sustenance. Many of us plan trips based on photographs we have seen and articles (or blogs) we have read. For some, the draw is beautiful architecture or stunning landscapes, for others, like myself, it is the promise of bustling markets, flavourful foods and a chance to learn about a new culture.
Food is often at the core of my most cherished travel experiences – whether consumed or merely admired – and remains a focus in my future travel plans.
When I travel to a new place, whether its in Canada or somewhere else in the world, the top item on my bucket list (I’m not a huge fan of this term, but my mind is having trouble finding a new one) is often ‘find local markets‘.
#1 Bucket List Item: Find Local Markets
Over the years, markets have become an important part of my travels around the globe – a habit that took root during my first trip to Thailand in 2010.
Often the heart of a community, markets are a place to discover regional foods, experience new flavours and learn about local culture. Home Cooked meals and treats can be spotted here and there, along with fresh fruit and vegetables and meat and fish displayed on everything from tables to colourful plastic sacks lying on a packed dirt floor.
Whether I’m in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, I spend a lot of time exploring markets. In Bangkok, when I stay in Silom, I’ll venture to the market in soi 20 to buy fresh fruit, eat breakfast or enjoy one of my favourite Thai foods, Pla Pao (fish stuffed with lemongrass, salted and grilled). In Chiang Mai, I venture to somphet market in the old city, or the night food market at Chiang Mai Gate or the Sunday Night market filled with street food and (what feels like) everything under the sun.
Of course, I go to other markets as well. Basically, if I see a market, I divert from my path to check it out. A habit that takes place in every country I visit.
Here are some of my favourite market wanders in Asia.