We have recently had the occasion to meet Mr. Fabrizio Manni, chef of ECCO Pasta & Pizza, an Italian restaurant in Dubai Marina, who recommended us to visit the Thai market located just in front of Thai Consulate in Umm Suqeim 3.
They say to know a country’s culture; your first stop should be its market place. The Thai community in Dubai did just that and more — they brought their own market — to the emirate. The Royal Thai Consulate-General in Dubai, with the Thai Ladies Club, organise a Thai Community Market Day at the consulate premises to recreate traditional Thai markets back home, which are a centrepiece of Thai social life and culture.
The aim of the market is to get the community together but it is also open to everybody so that, it is also the occasion to let the Thai culture known to other people in the emirate to experience the traditional food and taste. Authentic Thai food are served and are all home-made. The ingredients of these foods are hard to come by here in Dubai and the food preparation itself is quite difficult and time consuming.
According to chef Fabrizio Manni, it is worthwhile and interesting to visit the market and taste the dishes of Thai cuisine, which he finds them very delicious.
The market is open every second Friday of each month from 10 am to 1.30 pm, during the coolest season. All people is welcomed and can buy Thai produce like fresh vegetables, herbs and locally made Thai food that can be pre-order also through the internet.
Here, you can find ladies that grew and sell their own vegetables. You can buy from them a packet of Gai Lan and Shanghai choy (similar to bok choy but with a light green stem instead of white) for 10 dhs per bag. There are also bags of kang kong (aka water spinach), Sweet Thai Basil (horapha), and others such as: a sour-smelling soup dotted with mushrooms. dragon fruit, a long green fruit which looks pumpkin like
From the stir-fried rice noodles (Pad Thai) cooked right in front of you to the black, blue, and yellow sticky rice, the market has all sorts of food to excite any adventurous palate. You can get some little meatballs and fish balls on sticks and add fried plantain and sweet potato as side dishes.
You can find also uncommon food such as worms, ants and other insects, which are considered the food of the future, being an important source of proteins. Many people in Thailand enjoy eating insects as a snack food, often enjoyed with beer. They’re usually fried in a wok, and seasoned with Golden Mountain sauce and a bit of Thai pepper powder.
Here, you can find also some Thai specials which are difficult to find in Dubai, such as the Isan or the Thai fermented sausage from the south, the Cha Thai cake, which is actually a very soft sponge cake flavoured with green and black Thai tea, and the Sweet Thai Crispy Beef with chicken rice.
Besides Thai food, the community also prepares some Thai crafts while being serenaded by traditional Thai music.