I've spent the past week traveling through Isaan, the northeast region of Thailand, the agricultural heartland of the country. Few tourists make it up this way—Isaan is a long way from Bangkok but is home to some of the most complex and intriguing foods in the country. Here's what we found in the markets of Nong Khai.
'markets' on Serious Eats
Erin's experience with pumpkin-flavored foods this week had her wondering what, exactly, a pumpkin tatses like (hint: it doesn't taste like a scented candle, as many grocery manufacturers seem to believe). What better way to refresh your memory than by visiting the Greenmarket and grabbing an actual pumpkin? Or delicata? Or blue hubbard, kobocha, golden acorn, and stripetti? Click through the slideshow for a closer look at all of the winter squash we've been seeing around the market lately.
Like many cities in Israel, Tel Aviv has its fair share of markets of a traditional, somewhat chaotic sort—butchers next to fruit vendors next to spice-sellers and juice-squeezers, open-air and crowded. But the brand-new Jaffa Port Market is something different altogether. More in the model of San Francisco's Ferry Plaza or NYC's Chelsea Market, it's a curated selection of high-end food vendors under one roof. Come check out all there is to eat and drink.
When Singaporeans shop, there's no better place to go than the wet market. It's a jumble of fresh seafood, meat, produce, spices, and sometimes also connected to a marketplace for clothes, housewares, and home goods. Wet markets are so named because their floors are slick, as seafood shops can be, with the melted ice used to keep the fish fresh (okay, and a little bit of stray fish gut too). Check out these snapshots from the wet market.
Opened hundreds of years ago in 1470, under the name Mercat Bornet, the legendary Mercat de La Boqueria was once the city's major pig and meat market. Centuries later, it's still one of the most impressive markets in Europe, a fantastic place to shop, sip, and nibble.
These days, there are any number of venues to see New York's small artisan purveyors: Smorgasburg, Hester Street Fair, maybe DeKalb or New Amsterdam Market. (Not to mention small retail shops like Bklyn Larder or Nolita Mart.) But Super (Duper) Market, put together by Paper magazine, not only has an excellent selection of NYC vendors, but a handful of great West Coast folk, as well. Here's a look at the vendors, people, and products.
The Buford Highway Farmers Market is a 100,000 square-foot grocery megastore, about Costco-sized. If there was a Nobel Prize for markets, this would absolutely deserve to win. Take the eggplant aisle: Sicialian, Dominican, Indian, Thai, and other varieties all lined up next to each other, in various shades of the indigo continuum. Check out all of the international produce at this incredible Atlanta market.
Smucker Farms, a market that just opened in D.C., stocks handpicked products from small, primarily Amish and Mennonite, producers from southern Pennsylvania, as well as some producers in New York and Philadelphia. The shelves are stocked with artisanal snacks, canned goods, drinks, soaps, and even handmade toys. Walking through the store is more like visiting a friend's pantry—if your friend were more of an incredibly well stocked locavore chef.
The New Amsterdam Market, the open air market near South Street Seaport, returned this Sunday for the 2012 season. And what better way to open the new season than with a bread pavilion? More than a dozen local bakers brought their best creations for people to sample and to take home.
This weekend, the Dekalb Market reopened its doors after being closed for the winter months. Many of our favorite vendors from last year like Robicelli's, Cuzin's Duzin and Joe the Art of Coffee were back. But this season they are joined by few new vendors as well as Dekalb Farm, an agricultural-educational space. Besides eating and shopping at Dekalb Market, they plan to have weekly dance parties, monthly movie nights and private supper clubs. Check out the slideshow for scenes from opening day.
This weekend the Brooklyn Flea's outdoor food market extravaganza Smorgasburg opened for their first day of the 2012 season. Dozens of food vendors, both new and old, were there, and plenty of hungry stomachs to fill. Check out the slideshow to see a sample of what we found there!
Mercado Central (Central Market) in Valencia is Spain's largest fresh food market and one of Europe's largest and oldest running food markets, opened in 1928*. (In other words, it's a must-visit if you're in Valencia.) The cavernous building is home to over 900 food stalls selling fruit, vegetables, spices, seafood, meat, cheese, nuts, olives, cured meats, and more.
The Mercado Municipal in Sao Paulo is up there with the great markets around the world. Towering piles of fruits meet giant sides of freshly butchered pork and beef. Espresso stands crowd next to purveyors of dried fruits and nuts. There are stands dedicated to hot peppers, to candy, and to feijoada ingredients.
Madison Square Park is making the most of Worth Square, the traffic island just west of the park, across Broadway. Madison Square Eats, which reopened last Friday, now features more vendors than ever. Whether you need a sweet treat, a cup of coffee, or something more substantial from tacos to pizza to pork buns to falafel, Madison Square Eats has you covered. The only problem is deciding which stall(s) to order your food from.
Last week on our Weekend Cook and Tell we were talking shopping, namely Your Go-To Markets. We wanted to know about those magical markets where just strolling down the aisles acts as inspiration for all sorts of fantastic meals. Judging by your responses, it looks like all of you are consummate shoppers who love nothing more than seeking out the best your area has to offer. So, get those reusable bags ready; let's take a look at your favorite markets and the meals they've produced.
During the filming of PBS's The Kimchi Chronicles, renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his wife, Marja, visited one of the several O-Il Jang (5 Day Market) on Jeju-do, the provincial island off of the southern coast of the Korean peninsula. According to the producer of The Kimchi Chronicles Eric Rhee, Vongerichten was so inspired by the market that he halted the shooting schedule, bought everything in sight, commandeered the kitchen of a local hotel, and cooked an impromptu multi-course meal for the film crew and hotel staff.
Brooklyn's Dekalb Market isn't like all the other markets opening this summer—it's open 7 days a week, year-round. There are no pop-up booths or folding tables here. Instead it's a collection of semi-permanent store fronts created from salvaged shipping containers. Boasting a small but delicious collective of local food shops, it's a great place to stop by for a meal, a drink, an indulgence, or all of the above.
When traveling through the rolling corn fields of Eastern Pennsylvania, it's hard to limit the number of stops one can make at this or that roadside farm stand. Thankfully, the Kutztown outpost of Renningers Antiques and Farmers Market kills several birds with one convenient, folksy stone. The market stalls are teeming with Pennsylvania Dutch classics like sauerkraut baked beans, shoo-fly pie, pretzels, horehound candy (who still eats horehound candy?!) and all manner of cured meats.
For the first-timer in a Singapore hawker center, the sheer size and outward disarray can be downright disconcerting, if not a little intimidating. With the help of friends and guidebooks, I, myself a recent Singapore newbie, decoded the basics of hawker center etiquette to help demystify this unique eating experience for future greenhorn foodies.
Eastern Market in southeast D.C. falls somewhere between a farmers market, food court, and tourist attraction. The permanent indoor and weekend-only, pop-up outdoor bazaar is open year-round (except on Mondays) and has been running for over 130 years. While you can swing by on a weekday after work and pick up a pound of homemade pasta or a couple of steaks, the real action happens on the weekends, when the market practically quadruples in size. Check out 10 of our favorite bites.