Or Tor Kor Market
Ranked as the world’s 4th best fresh market by CNN is an attractive and upscale Bangkok-based market under the auspices of the “Marketing Organization for Farmers.” However, its initials in Thai have led to the rather odd name for this fresh market: Or Tor Kor.
Located on the opposite side of Chatuchak Market, access to Or Tor Kor is easy via the MRT underground system: Take the train to Kamphaeng Phet station and use exit 3 and you will be right at the entrance to the market.
From modest beginnings as an agricultural collective, Or Tor Kor has developed into a classy outdoor food venue, so do not be surprised to see well-heeled business people among the mix of locals and tourists, and expect the prices to be slightly higher than other locations, while still considered affordable by most.
There is an eye-widening array of prepared foods, fruits, kitchen supplies and all manner of agricultural goods. The colors and range of aromas are always enticing and unlike some places, ample space is provided to browse at leisure with the carefully laid out stalls and broad aisles.
In the center of the market is a well-lit, well-organized food court with an extensive menu where you can relax before continuing your shopping. Another plus is the fact that there is no need to fuss around with exchanging money for tokens, coupons or vouchers, as is the case with many shopping mall food halls. Cash is used and the range of meals is most impressive.
The focus is on top quality produce, not only some of the best in Bangkok, but in the whole of Thailand. Many know it chiefly as a fruit market, but in truth there is much more with pre-cut meat, vegetables and beautiful flowers for sale.
Here you can take a leisurely stroll around and not have to worry about slipping on wet surfaces or dodging staff with carts and others flailing hoses. Those of a more squeamish disposition who might shudder at some of the food preparation activities at other venues need not worry here; Or Tor Kor is one of the cleanest, calmest and neatest markets you will see.
Even if you don’t have a kitchen, it is a great place to simply wander, see and learn about the breathtaking variety of fresh ingredients used in Thai cooking.
You are truly spoiled for choice with so many temptingly displayed items, I have a very sweet tooth, so I recommend the delicious kanom nam dok mai (Jasmine Scented Sweets) in cute cup shapes. They can be found around the food court area.
One of the major reasons to come to Or Tor Kor is for the durian, regarded as the “King of Fruits”. During the durian season around April to August, throughout the market you will find a number of shops selling near perfect durians piled high like pyramids, some of them pre-peeled and ready to be bought and eaten right away.
The most popular type available is kanyao durian which means “long stem” and is considered by many to be the best and most expensive in the country. A word of warning, if you do buy any durian, you cannot travel back with it on the MRT. Signs are posted at the entrance to the Kampheng Phet station, forbidding people from carrying it on the system, so make sure you have alternative transport.
More must-buys are in the cooked food section where you will discover another bewitching selection of diverse Thai food from buffet lines of colorful curries, steamed seafood and numerous dry and fresh nam priks (chili sauces and dips), the latter include ingredients such as dry fish, crab, salted egg, shrimp paste, and tamarind, to name only a few. These are usually eaten with rice or vegetables.
Some argue the market lacks the character of other establishments, I beg to differ and suggest it is a welcome haven of relative peace and order compared to larger and more chaotic locations.
If you want the finest quality food and other items in a pleasant environment, come and visit Or Tor Kor. Or Tor Kor is open daily from 6.00 am to 8 pm.