Friday, February 11, 2011

The Meat Markets Of Pattaya

A butcher's stand - inside a local fresh food market in Pattaya

OK - everyone who thought this was a post about Go-Go clubs, raise your hands. I thought so. Well it isn't, although it is about fresh meat.

Special once a week gatherings that are often called "Farmer's Markets" here in the Western US are just a normal everyday event for local residents throughout Thailand; probably stemming from the fact that refrigeration hasn't been as widely available, coupled with a knowledge that fresher meat and produce is often better and better for you - even with the flies. We won't debate the pesticide/chemical vs organic thing today, thanks.

In addition to a wide variety of produce sold at these markets, more perishable foodstuffs are also available - such as meat, fish and poultry. I've been surprised at the size and number of stalls in these "locals" markets several times - most notably in Udonthani a couple of years back - but also in Bangkok, Pattaya and other places.

What's also surprised me, although it shouldn't, is the way these perishables are out in the open and on display, in the standard grocery stores, too. When I get around to writing about Tesco-Lotus (similar to a Wal-Mart, K-Mart or Sam's Club in the USA) you'll see fresh meat, fish and poultry displayed in much the same way - open, touchable and exposed. Come to think of it, it's not all that different from a lot of the strip clubs there, but let's get back on topic.

A few weeks back I was on my way to breakfast in Pattaya when I walked past the entrance to the local market on South Road, close to the intersection of South and Second, on the South side. I turned in and found myself not only wandering for an hour or so, but nearly missing breakfast entirely.

The guy above who was diligently working away cutting and trimming at one stall didn't seem to be bothered by my watching, so I did. I showed him a very short clip of him cutting, and he laughed, so I asked if it was OK to take a few more and some photos. He agreed, after joking about not getting too close because his knife was sharp and he could slash me if he felt like it. An odd thing to joke about, I agree.

In the clip below you can see him working with a practiced hand, making quick, precise cuts with a well-worn knife that he would stop and swipe a time or three on the bottom of an upside-down skillet he had on the table top.

As is often the case I suspect he'd never seen himself in a clip and he laughed and called a couple of others over to look at it, pointing to the viewfinder screen and then back at himself, saying something in Thai that appeared to indicate he was the Knife Master.


neil said...

(raising hand) guilty :)

Terminator said...

I like your latest video of the butcher in Pattaya! I like the way you chose and framed your subjects: meaty/muscular, macho, masculine and even with a slight disdain of confidence/arrogance as he worked. I'm sure if he broke into a big friendly smile halfway, it would have been an immediate turn-on for many people.

khunbaobao said...

You certainly have an eye for muscular men, Terminator. They're not my cup of tea, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. Nice to have you along - and thanks for reading my stuff.

john lewis said...

You mean there might be some fresh meat in the Go-Go bars. :)

Ive been in that market many times but I really hate going through the fish section. Whewww, what a smell.


Christian said...

I once went to Khlong Toei market in Bangkok (which seems to be open 24/7) and walked along there some time. There you can see live chicken in cages, how they are killed and boiled and prepared for selling, all on less than 20m distance. (And well, I had an eye for the young shirtless men handling for the chicken as well.)

khunbaobao said...

Strangely enough I still have the Khlong Toei market on my list of places to go photograph. Thanks for the reminder!