During the day, when you can feel each ray of the sun beating down on your shoulders and reflecting off the black pavement beneath your sandaled feet, Phuket is just way too hot to do much of anything, lest you go sunbathe by the pool or hang out under and umbrella on the beach. Even that is almost too hot to do.
But at night, when the sun goes down and the temperature along with it, street vendors, hawkers, bars, restaurants, and stores light up. Phuket comes alive at night.
Last year on our New Year’s trip to Phuket, I enjoyed a mean fried chicken from the local night market– one of the best fried chickens I’ve ever had. This year I strolled through the market again.…
And not too surprisingly, I saw many of the same vendors as I did last time.
And though was verrrry tempted, because it was close to bedtime, I managed to get out of there empty handed (and empty bellied).
Mangovan!! Sounds like an international superhero in Spandex, doesn’t it?
I don’t have any explanation for this photo, it’s just a heap of mangoes, in a van, with all the doors open. This guy’s all about easy access and mobility, I guess. Another generation of street vendor, I suppose?
Not being from one region in particular, (a rarity in such a cuisine-specific country) the Zongzi is a tamale-like concoction that every Chinese person has eaten in his/her life. As much as turkey is a part of Thanksgiving in the states, Zongzi are a huge part of the Chinese holiday Dragon Boat Festival, in early June. Common lore tells varied stories, all involving a famous poet drowning himself (some stories are for love, some for political sacrifice), and the village people throwing packets of rice into the river to keep the fish from eating his body. To celebrate the holiday, wrapping and eating these Zongzi’s are common tradition, and glutinous rice is stuffed into hearty bamboo leaves, and filled with either savory or sweet goods. Nowadays Zongzi can be found at all times of year, everywhere from the streets, to supermarket freezers, to dim sum restaurants.
In Yangshuo we came across an elderly woman rolling a cart of Zongzi down the street. I’ve had plenty of Zongzi of the homemade and supermarket and dimsum variety, but have yet to taste the smaller, always-steaming street variety. Mild in all senses– texture, flavor, temperature– it turned out to be a very satisfying midday snack. I bet if I were hungry I’d surely wolf a few of these down.
I’ll include a more substantial of a post on Lamma Island tomorrow, but for now, here’s a sneak peak of the sleepy island culture we observed over the weekend. It’s amazing to think this lush, jungle-like fisherman’s island is just a ferry-away from Hong Kong.
Sugar Cane is a big treat in China, and many other asian countries as well. Look how big this stuff is– like edible bamboo stalks.
Most of the time it’s sold, on the street, off of a cart. The vendor will hack you off a stick about a foot long, and using a small machete that looks like a rasp, he will shave off the hard, outer bark leaving you with the soft, sweet, yellowish-white flesh. But it’s not just to be eaten– sugar cane flesh is veiny and fibrous, and you chew a bite as you would a stick of gum, spitting out the stringy fibers (usually on the side of the road).
Now that it’s cold I’ve seen the sugar cane vendors retreat back into their homes and stores, but when the weather is warm there is fresh sugar cane on every corner, off of each metro exit. The other day I spotted this lone sugar cane vendor parked amidst a sea of white vans. Nobody craves sugar canes in chilly weather. She didn’t look too thrilled…