Chatuchak, the popular tourist destination for getting ripped off in Bangkok Thailand is well-known to many of us in the Southeast Asian region. Now that they’ve flown the Thai Chatuchak vendors to Singapore, you can experience getting ripped off abroad RIGHT IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY! We went down as fast as we could to give you a review of the Thai Night Market
Chatuchak Singapore is slated to be held from 4th Feb to 3rd May, at the GrandStand. Personally, I’m not a fan of the location as it’s rather far off from the nearest MRT, but thankfully they do have shuttle bus to The Grandstand, so everything is not as dire as it seems. Free parking is available for those who drive, but good luck getting a parking lot during weekends!
As the name suggests, Chatuchak is focused around the Thai culture, with plenty of Thai street food to eat, drink, and fashionable apparel & accessories for the buying. Despite being a “Thai” culture night market, there are plenty of Singaporean stores as well, so you will get a good mix of “fusion” culture.
Before we move into the offerings of the market, Chatuchak.SG posted this on their Facebook yesterday:
They have set the bar pretty high with their claims; more than 50 vendors have been flown in directly from Thailand, as well as the claim to not charge “Singapore prices”. We went down as early as possible.
Being one of the earliest to such events is usually a good thing: smaller crowd, less queue, more time to explore. What we got is around half of the tents are occupied by vendors, and out of these occupied tents, half of them are still setting up their lights, their POS (Point of Sales) machine. Under-prepared is the word I would use to sum up this situation. I assume more vendors will be opening for the duration of the Chatuchak, so maybe wait a little before checking the place out!
The first thing to do when visiting such a market — try the food. There are plenty of varieties to choose from, from traditional Thai food like sticky rice, boat noodles, Thai iced tea, to Hotdogs, Fried Karage (we know, confusion!), ice cream, so there is no shortage of variety
But dem prices though. The cheapest food found was a hotdog/meatball stand, where it was $2 a stick, while the price for most expensive omnomnoms went to a small dish of Baby Octopus (or rather, Baby Octopi) going at $15, but hey, we are there to try the pricey food so you don’t have to.
Fried Baby Octopus, $15
$15 for this small piece of shit?! The bowl is roughly the size of a palm, while the base is filled with vegetables to add volume, we counted about 8 pieces in total. What made matters worse is the food was not freshly made. We saw the vendor, taking the octopus out from a cold storage baggie and heating it up, before placing it in a pre-filled half-vegetable-filled-palm-size bowl.
We tried to take a video of the whole scenario, but we were stopped by the lady. Our dishonesty alarms go ping-ping-ping!
We got a combination of Pork Belly and Pork Neck, with the former being the better-tasting one. The marinate was delicious, gave a lot more flavour to the meat and the accompanying chill gave the dish additional kick. For $10, this isn’t exactly cheap; but we would recommend trying it out if you’re a fan of the dish and concurrently find yourself stuck at The Grandstand.
Thai Iced Tea
$3 for diabetes-in-a-cup, but can’t complain much since I am the king of spending $4 and upwards on milk tea (damn you, Liho!). If it’s too sweet, you know it’s authentic to Thailand, right? Great way to beat the heat.
More sneak peeks you can expect from the food section:
As with any night market, clothes shopping is a must, but only to the extent of window-shopping, please. Prices for the clothes are high with an average t-shirt setting you back $20, with some vendors charging as high as $40. Sorry, but I’m going back to Taobao, thank you.
The accessories on the other hand, have some cheap draws as low as an easy $2. There are some interesting vendors there as well, like a barber, a plants store, which seem unique to a place like Chatuchak.SG.
Did Chatuchak Singapore live up to the popular Thai night market?
We’d say no.
It doesn’t sustain the “vibe” of the original Chatuchak. We know we’re asking for a lot, but if you’ve flown Thai stall owners down to Singapore, we are going to expect some Thai atmosphere (a.k.a better food, more reasonable prices, the occasional hawking shouts in Thai?).
We don’t think there were 50 stalls from Thailand up yet either! (At least, as of the time of our experience.)
We will say that Chatuchak.SG is reminiscent of just another outdoor market in Singapore – expensive, crowded, with sub-par food overshadowing any redeeming epicurean adventures.
Rating: NOT APPROVED
Instead, you might want to check out Ning Xia Night Market