Cicada Market – Hua Hin, Thailand

There are two ways to dine out in Thailand. There are the big fancy restaurants that serve meals from traditional Thai food to fare that could be found all over the world. There is also the street food that is extremely cheap and most of the time just as good. There is a little danger with this type of food because you might fall victim to the Thailand tummy or the Bangkok belly, but I have never had this experience since I have been out here though I have been witness to those who have. There is a simple rule of thumb when it comes to eating street food in Thailand, go to the places that have long lines and then you know the food you are getting will always be fresh and free from the things that might cause the rumble down below.

If I am Hua Hin, there are two street markets that allow for this great experience of dining with the street food. There is the old night market further in town and though a great, fun experience, does not necessarily meet with the higher standards of cleanliness that the other place does, the Cicada Market which can be found further on the southern part of the city. This is a newer market, and it boasts numerous venders who are all trying to sell you the greatest culinary delights for relatively cheap prices. It only takes place on the weekends, but it is definitely worth the voyage down there to check it out.

First off, the food down there is great. They sell all of your favorite Thai dishes from chicken satay to pineapple fried rice served in the husk of the pineapple where the delicious ingredient for the dish came from. They also have other quick street food fare that can be found in other places around the world such as wood stove pizza and Korean bar-b-q. Each dish is relatively inexpensive, so it is fun to walk around and have a little bit of this dish followed by a little bit of that dish.

The Cicada market also creates an atmosphere that is a blend of carnival as well as cultural. They have clowns walking around on stilts, people making balloon animals, and booths performing magic tricks, all around two stages where various juggling and comedic acts will perform, or if you prefer something a little more adult, you can go and watch a rock band perform next to the beer garden. There are also little niches where bands will set up to play traditional Thai music, or break dance to electronic beats produced by some of the country’s best DJs.

Considering that it also a market, there is also a section dedicated to various vendors selling their wares. This is a little different than what can be seen in a traditional market in Thailand though. Most of those places have quick products that can be found in most places around the country. You have knock off coffee mugs set next to t-shirts and phone cases. The items that are sold here are actually produced by the people selling them. There is a certain type of artistic quality that can be found at this market which makes it feel like that what you are buying can only be found in this little corner of Hua Hin. It also makes wandering through the market really fun because you see a lot of strange items that you would never find anywhere else.

It is my second time coming down to this market and if I ever find myself in Hua Hin over a weekend, I would make sure that I would come back here again. It is a must see for anybody visiting this city and I would recommend that when you come you bring a healthy appetite with you because you are going to want to spend a lot of your time here satisfying it.

The Night Market – Taiwan Day 7

If you are looking for nightlife in Taipei, you should not go try and find the fanciest club or the greatest bar, but instead, you should head to one of the many night markets, and participate in what the locals like to do for fun, eat street food. It is a great tradition here, and the food that you find at these markets is not just good, but it might be some of the best food that you can find in the city.

I went to the Raohe St. Night Market, and the city sections off the street to traffic so vendors can set up their stalls and cook their food. You know you are in the right place because you can smell the aroma of good coming at you from a few blocks away, and as soon as you enter, your stomach just yearns to be filled with some of the things that it is smelling. That is except for the stinky tofu. It is a fermented tofu that is a delicacy of Taiwan, and when you get close to a booth that sells it, you know why it now has that name. I did not try any partly because of the smell, but partly because I am not a big fan of tofu, but that does not mean that I couldn’t find other regional delicacies there.

One of my favorites was a steamed peppered pork bun. Basically it was peppered pork that was rolled up in a dough and then baked on the wall inside of a round oven. They would pull them out hot, put them in a wrapper and sell them to you. I knew it would be good because of the queue of people that lined up to get one.

That was the best way to find out which type of food was the best. Besides smelling something that would grab your attention, there were always those lines of people. If it wasn’t for one of those lines, I would have missed another one of the better dishes that the market had to offer.

There was a desert that could only be found in the market, and it was fun to watch the guy make each individual one. Basically it would start off with a crepe, that he would first fill up with the shavings from a block of a peanut brittle. He would then add in three scoops of a pineapple ice cream, and then add a little cilantro before wrapping it all up in a small little burrito.

It was the perfect treat to end the night with, and it was one of the more memorable experiences from going to Taipei. It is a stop that has to be made while visiting here, or it would be like you never learned what the place and people were actually like. It is the heart of the city, and it doesn’t matter which one you go to, you’ll always find a pulse there.

The Night Market

The night is when we take over the roads
With all of our trinkets and wares to sell.
We put up our tents and unpack our loads
Of colorful textiles with their bright spells.
Would you please unhinge your fat money clip
To give away your valuable bills?
In exchange in your backpack you can slip
The stuff you have earned with your shopping thrills.
We can both move on with each satisfied
About what we have done in this market.
Thoughts of Communism is all that died
As the world fights for what it wants to get.
We will shuffle off in the rising dawn
Wondering where the night market has gone.