No matter where you are in the world, one of the best ways to get to know a city is by visiting its markets. Among the aromas of grilled meats and slow-simmering curries and broths, the bright colours of the fresh fruit and veg and the overall cacophony of haggling and excitement, you’ll discover an electric energy that perfectly embodies the unique culture of the region. This is particularly true in Indochina, where so many people rely on markets for their livelihood, their sustenance and their social communities. For an authentic experience of the Indochinese region, check out these markets – and be sure to come hungry!
Central Market, Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market is the ultimate hub for the many cultures that call Malaysia their home. It is housed in a large building with multiple stories, each packed with stalls. Inside the market, you can shop to your heart’s content, browsing through numerous stalls selling find batik, wood carvings, local art, souvenirs and accessories. Then, once you get hungry, you can head to the food court, which is loaded with cafés and vendors selling delicious Malaysian dishes like laksa, satay and rendang.
Chatuchak Market, Bangkok
Housing over 8,000 stalls, Chatuchak Market is incredibly vast. In fact, it is so big that it has to be divided into sections covering everything from clothing and accessories, to pets and pet accessories, to antiques and collectibles, to food and beverage. It’s a great place to hunt for bargains and haggle your way to the best price.
Dinh Cau Night Market, Phu Quoc
This market is foodie heaven. Attracting both tourists and locals, its stalls offer authentic, tasty and affordable food. Dinh Cau is particularly well-known for its selection of fish. You can get your fill ofprawns, scallops, lobsters and crabs, and you’ll also see a few delicacies that you wouldn’t be able to find in your local Vietnamese restaurant in West Hampstead, like shark and sea snails.The market offers local craft beer and tons of other Vietnamese specialties, too. Bonus: you can work up an appetite by visiting the nearby Dinh Cau Temple before you take your pick of the market’s incredible seafood!
Old Market (Psah Chas), Siem Reap
The Old Market in Siem Reap is absolutely brimming with every kind of item imaginable – vendors sell everything from silverware to motorcycle parts. In the streets surrounding the Old Market, galleries and boutiques abound, so there is truly something for everyone. And, of course, the market is known for its authentic Cambodian food, so you can chow down on an authentic Khmer soup when your stomach starts to grumble.
A trip to any partof Indochina would be remiss if it did not include an excursion to the local market. As you browse each stall and taste the dishes of the food vendors, you’ll gain a perspective on the area that you otherwise would not have experienced. However, if you don’t plan on travelling to Indochina the near future, you can still taste the authentic flavours of these countries at Banana Tree. From our Kajang Grilled Satay to our selection of chargrilled meats, we take inspiration from the lively street markets of Indochina to bring you the best the region has to offer.