I must have said cute at least a million times while walking through this weekly market. That's probably because the items for sale are one of kind and cater to the Asian sensibility combining clean and simple presentation/packaging, mini, bite-sized portions and craftiness that doesn't scream grandma-crocheted-it-for-the-church-flea-market.
The Sunday Walking Street Market in Chiang Mai has become an institution and is completely packed with tourists and locals alike. Many of the of the vendors have other jobs during the week and use this market to showcase their skills. Again, food takes center stage whether you peruse the temple stalls or ones on the main drag. But if you're looking for unique handicrafts, this is the place to shop.
The market begins with the entire street stopping for the national anthem. This is then followed up by an announcement that smoking and drinking (alcohol) is strictly forbidden in the market streets.
Dive into one of the temples for stall after stall of food and take a seat for a massage when the shopping gets overwhelming.
Mix and match sushi is self-serve. Pick up some tongs and fill that plastic box to your raw fish heart's desire.
If only we were headed home already, I would have stocked up on a rainbow selection of these shoes.
Are these not the most adorable steamed buns you've ever seen???!!!
My sweet tooth went into overdrive with the choices being offered:
|Crunchy crepe with marshmallow|
|Rice-coconut milk "marzipan"|
|Mini pancakes with pandan filling|
|Mango sticky rice|
The strangest ice-cream I've ever eaten - Hokkaido Milk Ice Cream in a rubber "egg". They massage the egg, cut off the tip and you suck the ice cream out of the "nipple". I was slightly embarrassed eating this and accidentally squirted some on Alex (once you start eating it, the rubber deflates like a balloon) but it is certainly an original way to deliver ice cream.
While you're stuffing your face, don't forget to enjoy the entertainment. Every five feet brings a blind singer or band and young girls in costume playing various instruments. There's even a man who will take an existing photo, draw it on his iPad and e-mail you the drawing.
And if you're just not sure what to get that friend back home, well, here's an idea that comes in a variety of sizes.