In our quest to acquire good-quality dried squid for Mae, we decided to check out Paknam Market (ตลาดปากน้ำ) in Samut Prakan, just a 30-minute drive from our place and where the Chao Phraya River meets the Gulf of Thailand. Although we arrived quite late (around 10am) and activities were already winding down, hordes of workers were still hard at work at the unloading area; some workers were selecting and picking fish into baskets as fast as the catch was transferred to land, while a couple others were mending fishing nets.
We then popped over to the fresh market and I became more excited with each step I took. Outside, cars, pick-ups, taxis and the occasional tuk-tuk thronged the narrow one-way street, while inside the entire market was abuzz with sellers and buyers, and trucks and trolleys piled high with styrofoam boxes constantly barreled down the wet corridors (note: non-slip shoes are a must here). Much bigger than the usual fresh markets in Bangkok, the vast market was filled with an extraordinary array of fresh produce and seafood. Sellers were all smiles and quick to sing praises of their produce whenever we stopped to peruse the items on sale or take photos with our mobile phones.
Among the warrens of stores, there were fist-sized promfret lookalikes, which a vendor insisted make yummy dishes when deep-fried; crystalline crayfish lined up in neat rows; gleaming fish roes, a stall that sells only squid and octopuses, and even stingrays made an appearance here. I also learned more specific names of the various seafood types on display—whisker squid anyone? Furthermore, prices were clearly displayed and cheaper than the fresh markets I usually frequent, so I foresee we will be making more trips to Paknam Market to stock up our fridge in future. Meanwhile, I’m already dreaming of seafood grilling sessions in the great outdoors!