Market Friday: shopping in the old market of Chinatown

in Haveyoubeenhere3 months ago (edited)

Walking around Chinatown in Bangkok with my old friend did bring back a lot of my childhood memories. Visiting the old market, which used to be the most well known market among Chinese people, certainly reminded me of being a child walking behind my mother along this narrow alley. In those days, the place was always very crowded and it was impossible to walk side by side with my mother who was carrying bags of food. I had to keep my eyes on her back and tried not to lose sight of her otherwise I would get lost. That was quite a stressful experience for a small child with short legs trying to catch up with an adult who was in a rush to get all the shopping done as soon as possible. My job was to help carrying some lighter bags and watch over her shopping bags while my mother went off to buy some other stuff in nearby shops. Then we would take a tuk-tuk home with all the bags and basket of food.

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I did wonder why grownups had to be in such a hurry and walked so fast. Now I realised that I often behave the same way as my mother did and I understood that my mother would have been under lots of pressure and there was the need to ‘save time’. Different time and life style, but daily life seems to be racing against time. I still feel I would like to have thirty-hours a day so that I could catch up with all the chores and unfinished tasks. My mother was super fast in all her activities as she had to look after a big and growing family while helping with the family business. I could not achieve half of what she had accomplished. I wished I could have been shopping with her more often so that she didn’t have to carry all the heavy shopping alone most of the time.

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My old friend is a bit like my mother as she is a good cook and has to cook for her family. So, she would walk slowly while examining the quality of all the myriads of food on display. I would have no clue about most of the strange stuff nor how to cook them. The ready cooked food are more familiar to me. Most Chinese people would come to this market for ingredients needed for creating special dishes for important Chinese religious festivals and special celebrations.

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Since the quality of food in this market is premium, the prices are also higher than those in supermarkets. There are fresh food, ready cooked food, famous food shops, imported Chinese stuff or dried fruits from China, including lots of Chinese tea. The seafood in this market is also specially selected for well off customers. I am so glad to see that these old shops could survive the lockdown and the old market continues to exist despite the economic slowdown. I have heard reports of terrible impact on the Chinese vendors in Chinatown because of the long lockdown. I do hope that tourism would be able to start by the middle of this year.

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เมื่อไม่นานมานี้เราไปเดินเที่ยวแถวย่านไชน่าทาวน์ถนนเยาวราช เราพาเพื่อนเก่าไปทัวร์แถวตลาดน้อยไปทะลุแถวเยาวราช เพื่อไปหาของกินเล่นและซื้อของที่ตลาดเก่าถนนเยาวราช เราพาเพื่อนเก่าเดินลัดเลาะตามซอยต่างๆ จนเพื่อนของเราบอกว่าสับสนเรื่องทิศทางมาก เราก็เลยต้องนำทางออกมาจากซอยจนถึงถนนใหญ่ เพื่อนจึงถึงบางอ้อ เราเดินจนหิวขนม ก็พากันกินขนมคนละถ้วยแล้วไปลุยต่อที่ตลาด เราไม่ได้มาเดินที่ตลาดนี้นานมาก พอเดินเข้าไปก็อดคิดถึงสมัยก่อนไม่ได้ ตอนเราเป็นเด็กเราเคยมาเดินตามแม่ตอนมาซื้อของเพื่อเตรียมไหว้เจ้า เราจำได้ว่าคนแน่นมาก เราต้องคอยวิ่งตามหลังแม่เพราะกลัวหลงทาง สมัยก่อนคนจีนต้องมาซื้อของหรือจ่ายตลาดที่นี่ เพราะมีของทุกอย่างที่จำเป็นในการจัดงานไหว้เจ้า และทำอาหารในวันพิเศษ

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เรามาเดินกับเพื่อนก็ยิ่งทำให้คิดถึงแม่ เพราะเพื่อนก็เป็นคนทำอาหารเก่งมาก และชอบจ่ายตลาดเหมือนแม่เราเลย เขาค่อยๆเดินดูของและเลือกซื้อของเหมือนแม่เราสมัยก่อนมาก เราหวนคิดถึงตอนเป็นเด็ก นึกอยากกลับไปแก้ตัวใหม่ในอดีต อยากไปช่วยแม่หิ้วของเวลาไปจ่ายตลาดมาก ตอนนั้นเราโตที่สุดจึงต้องคอยติดตามแม่ไปในที่ต่างๆ เราดีใจที่เห็นตลาดเก่าแก่ยังอยู่เหมือนเดิม เราได้ยินข่าวว่าช่วงมีที่ล็อกดาวน์นั้น คนขายของไม่ได้เลย เราก็ใจชื้นขึ้นที่เห็นคนเริ่มมาซื้อของที่ตลาดบ้างแล้ว

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เพื่อนของเรามาตามหาผักกาดดองที่มีชื่อเสียงมาก เราก็เดินหาจนเจอ เพื่อนซื้อตั้งสองถุงซึ่งหนักมาก เรายังต้องเดินกันอีกไกล แต่เขาบอกว่าของเจ้านี้อร่อยมากเหมาะสำหรับกินกับข้าวต้มตอนเช้า เราพึ่งมีเวลาเดินดูของที่เขาวางขายอย่างละเอียด ทำให้เราได้เรียนรู้อะไรมากขึ้น และแปลกใจมากที่ตลาดนี้เป็นแหล่งรวมอทหาร ของกินและอาหารแห้งมากมาย อาหารที่ปรุงสุกแล้วก็ดูดีมาก เสียดายที่เราไม่มีเวลานั่งกินของว่างหรือขนมเลย โอกาสหน้าเราจะไปเพื่อหาของกินเล่นอย่างเดียว

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The way my old friend picked and chose the food stuff did send a sharp pang of nostalgic longing in my heart. The picture of my young mother flooded back to my mind; I remembered watching her choosing the goods and haggling with vendors. My mother was very good at getting very good prices; I felt sorry for the vendors sometimes. I just was not made for a career as a merchant and I was very glad for that. I knew I could be very competitive and resourceful so my life would have been quite different had I shown any interest in a business career. Most of my cousins have become involved in business and their hair turned grey fast! I wish I could have done many things to make my mother’s life much easier when I was young. Alas, older generations of Chinese parents rarely communicated any emotions or feelings with their children. Perhaps they did not know how to talk about their inner thoughts or feelings; this Chinese tradition of preserving calm and peaceful outlook actually did more harm than good. Their children could grow up to be emotionally immature and could not deal with loads of emotional problems. At least, as a grown up I did help my parents with their big emotional problem while others were overwhelmed by the emotional trauma. My Western educational background and exposure to Western culture made me well suited to handle several emotional problems.

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My old friend was quite frigid and guarded in revealing her emotions as a result of her upbringing. I slowly showed her how to communicate our feelings without the guilt of being burdensome to others. It takes a long time to become ‘friends’ instead of an acquaintance; I would say it take me a few years to call someone a friend.

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We had no time to stop at a nice Chinese tea shop at the other end of the alley. There are two famous noodle shops nearby but we had to make a move towards our final destination of the day. Perhaps we need to have just a special ‘eating tour’ or ‘gourmet tour’ in the future. We emerged from the narrow alley into the main road in Chinatown where the bustling activities did cheer me up tremendously from my sudden melancholy. I do pray that tourism will start up again before the end of this year.

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Wishing you peace, good health and prosperity.

Stay warm and cheerful.

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I just LOVE walking around Yaowarot... especially the chinese medicine dispensaries & the household grocery stores. LOL I suddenly feel for some yellow hokkien noodles!!

Nice post. 🌻

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Thanks so much for enjoying the photos! I do hope we’ll see many tourists in this area soon.

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That’s fast! Thank you very much for your good work and nice map!

I hope tourism starts again so I can walk these streets once more. Thank you for the tour my friend!

Welcome! Yup! Looking forward to seeing tourists around once again! And I do hope you’ll save up lots of money for your travel again!

Best! 🙏💐🌺🌈🐈🐈

Super post! And quite right... there are NEVER enough hours in a day to get done all the things we wish to - especially as a mother. Sometimes I wonder if the people around the "mothers of the world" ever take a moment to truly appreciate everything they do for other people in a 24 hour period.


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Thank you very much for your support! Yah! It’s a shame that most people take things for granted too much! We should have been taught, at least, at schools about the sacrifice and energy a mother has to spend in order to keep everyone comfortable and happy. If I could turn the clock back, I would change many things I have done in the past!

But life goes on!

So true. In fact there are plenty of things that schools could and should teach which would be of far more value than the things they do.

Yay! 🤗
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It is an ever-changing world, isn't it? I found my grandmother and my parents to some extend unwilling to share emotional problems unlike my peers of today. My parents were more open to it, but, I had to discover there was an issue before they would open up. My grandparents were just stoic.

It makes it so much harder to communicate. As a matter of fact, the communication was very much pleasant talk. :) I know my mother had a harder life than I did, without all the convienances. I am so happy to see this post, not for the hardships, but, for your realization of them. There are some kids that never realize the hardship of their kids. And I love the Chinatown markets!!!

There have been some really interesting ways that #MarketFriday has been presented, all of which add more charm to the mixing bowl. The challenge points out our differences, but, then, it also shows many things our cultures share. When the day is done, it shows off how human we all are and how we basically all care about our families and others.

I love the experience of it all. I appreciate the love and support given to #MarketFriday! Thank you! Truly! Your participation adds a piece of your world, and I have to say, people are interested in is seeing it. This entire challenge has opened up the world to me and so many others. Thank you again for being a part of all this! I am so happy to see you [email protected] I hope you have a fabulous day! Hive on!!

Fridays are all about the #MarketFriday Challenge! Looking to take part in it? Here is how:

How to Participate:

Go to the market! Any market will do! Food, clothing, plant, or animal, if you wish. You can go to the zoo, an art auction, and restaurants. Anywhere or anything that you pay money for any kind of service.
Take pictures! Be creative! It’s fun!
Tell us a little bit about the market, what brought you here?
Post the picture.(s)
Don’t forget to use the MarketFriday Community #196308 to post from or hashtag it! #MarketFriday by @dswigle If you hashtag it, drop the link to your post here so I can easily find them.

As always, please remember! #MarketFriday loves you!

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Thanks for the reminder.

Amazing market. Nice Photography

Thank you! Glad you like these photos.

Have a nice weekend.