When in Songkhla, eat like a local
What’s your typical routine when travelling to a new place, especially a beach city? Do you wake up to a room-service breakfast, take a morning stroll by the sea, then chill by the pool until it’s time for dinner by moonlight?
That’s all very restful but if you happen to be in Songkhla on a Sunday, you may not want to confine yourself to the hotel. This Southern town has so much to offer including breakfast by the beach and shopping at a Sunday market where you can get a glimpse of unique local eats and sample plenty of local bites all in one morning.
For those who live inland, breakfast by the sea in Songkhla is a must. Quite a few mobile cafes along Chalathat Beach offer a light breakfast, from tea and coffee to sandwiches or local snacks like patongko (deep-fried Chinese bun).
However, Kafae Mungman near the Thaleluang-Chalathat T-junction is the place to go. While other food-truck cafes allow you to enjoy the beach from the other side of the street, this mobile cafe invites you to sit on the sand under the pine trees as you sip your first cappuccino of the day.
These mobile cafes might not serve the best coffee or snacks but the sea breeze and the view definitely make your morning cup much better. Locals enjoy it too and you will see groups of families and friends coming here for their first meal of the day.
Then it’s time for some retail therapy, Songkhla style. The Sunday market is a great place to while away the morning and discover a wide variety of goodies from rare tasty treats to functional items, clothes and plants.
For many, the best section is the one devoted to local food and snacks. Here, you will be overwhelmed by the high-quality but surprisingly affordable products from rarely seen home-made sweets to fleur de sel and sea harvests.
One of the tastiest treats is Kanom Lukdon. Made from eggs, rice flour, palm sugar and cane sugar, these must-try sweets can be found at the Sunday market and in the old town area. Kanom Kruay, which is made of rice flour and mung bean flour, is another favourite and comes in a convenient cone shape to down in a single bite.
Another snack not to miss is Kanom Khaniao or mo-khao mo-kaeng ling (steamed sticky rice wrapped in tropical pitcher plant or nepenthes). It too is rare treat that you won’t be able to find outside Songkhla.
A gentle warning before going to the market: set aside plenty of time, an empty bag and, above all, go with an empty stomach. The L-shaped Sunday market, which is spread over 1.5km, opens at 6am and runs until noon. The snacks and sea harvest will be hard to resist, not least because most of this tasty food is still served the traditional way – wrapped in banana leaves.
Kafae Mungman is located at the parking lot near the Thaleluang-Chalathat T-junction. The mobile café is open daily from early morning until around 10 or 11am. It’s closed on rainy days.
The Sunday market runs from Boromrajoanani College of Nursing Songkhla on Ramvithi Road to Songkhla District Court on Pla-tha Road. It’s open from 6am until noon.