Khun Poo worked for seven years selling home-cooked food to her neighbours. Prior to this she had been involved in a patchwork of different odd-jobs, including working in a garment factory. In late 2007, as the price of rice in Thailand doubled in the wake of a rippling global food crisis, Khun Poo found herself fighting to break even. As one of only two breadwinners in a household of ten, including her two children, she had to reconsider her options. Fellow resident and Australian national, Anji Barker, has been working with the community centre in Klong Toey for more than ten years on a number of community development initiatives. Using their contacts, Anji and some friends supported Khun Poo to start up her business. From fairly modest beginnings in the front room of Khun Poo’s house, the initiative has grown rapidly. The school has since generated enough profit for Khun Poo to rent a dedicated room that can accommodate up to 10 students and she is running her class six times a week.
The products on offer in the Klong Toey market were not at all unusual or any different from what I have seen in other Thai markets - there were just a lot more vendors and a lot more of a selection. I will warn you that some of the photos are graphic and a bit gruesome. The visit to this market was one of those times when I have to remind myself that I live in a foreign culture that it is very different than mine in a lot of ways, some good, some not so good and some just plain different. There are certain characteristics of the culture that are offensive/inhumane/cruel to me (based on my cultural beliefs and values) and, while I may not agree with, support or condone them, I do need to respect the difference between my culture and the Thai culture.
This was Noi, our escort from the Helping Hands Cooking School. She spoke excellent English and was very familiar with the market and the vendors and their products.
There were lots of different insects for sale. These were some kind of "spiced" beetles.
The fruit and veg section.
Rambutan. Another beautiful photo.
Boniato or Taro Root?
I had no idea there were so many different varieties of rice.
Two men in our group.
The woman on the right collected and packaged the crepes.
There were several "couples"in the stall making crepes in this manner - one crepe after the other - and, outside the stall, there were piles of the packaged crepes for sale. In the 1 1/2 years that we have lived here, I have never once seen a crepe (other than roti crepes and those are made differently and are made to order) so I was not quite sure what all of those crepes were going to be used for. Something to look into.
On to the Helping Hands Cooking School and Cooking With Poo!
This was the Menu for Thursday, January 10th.
Thai Dessert Tasting
The first dish we made was the Fried Morning Glory with Soya Sauce and the ingredients were very simple - morning glory (the leafy green in the photo below), garlic and a chili. Sesame oil, soya sauce and oyster sauce were added during the cooking.
Christopher and Jan cooked their dishes first and then Jim and I had our turn.
The second dish we made was Pad Culi Goong (Sweet Prawn Curry). I thought it was very similar to Pad Thai.
Jan was probably wondering when Christopher was going to slice his finger open...
Poo cutting the mango for mango & sticky rice.
Our entire group.
Walking back through the Klong Toey slums to meet the driver.