Of all of our trips to Bangkok, we never before got over to visit to Koh Kret, an island in the Chao Phraya River, 20 km north of Bangkok. One of the ways to the island is by ferry, which costs .06 cents U.S. We were at the wrong dock so we ended up grabbing a water “taxi” for a lot more – $4.00 U.S. When we saw one of the ferries we decided that it was worth the extra money; by the looks of it, when you hear of ferry accidents due to over crowding . . . that ferry was right out of the headlines!
The island dates only to 1722, when a canal was constructed as a shortcut to bypass a bend in the Om Kret branch of the Chao Phraya river. As the canal was widened several times, the section cut off eventually became a separate island. The island continues to serve as a refuge to the Mon tribes who dominated central Thailand between the 6th and 10th centuries and have retained a distinct identity in their flavor of Buddhism and, particularly, their pottery; renowned above all as a center for kwan aman, a style of Mon pottery, which is fundamentally just baked unglazed red clay carved with intricate patterns.
The one with the white sticker in the right picture is the one we purchased. We decided on one that wasn’t cut through.
There are no cars on this little island. The locals may have a motorbike; otherwise it’s walking or bicycling. And if you want an adventure, you can rent a bike to circumvent the island. We just walked; and we were only interested in checking out the pottery and the fish cakes that the island is noted for.
This kiln was reminiscent of the dragon kiln here in Singapore. This one is called Turtle Back Kiln.
These look like pie plates featured in cooking catalogues but I doubt it unless these are for export. There were few people around and it probably wouldn’t have mattered since little English was spoken here.
Snacking on the island:
The island is famous for the fried fish “cakes”. They’re really more like big popcorn fish. That’s all I can say; they’re a little chewy, not fishy . . . but not yummy.
At first I could not tell if these were sweets or savories but they were pretty. I don’t know what is under the white topping but it’s red capsicum and basil on top. Someone left their sausage cart out drying in the sun. I didn’t see brakes on the wheels; luckily it didn’t roll off the dock into the river but that may be where it gets its unique flavor?!
These siblings were manning a little stand cooking and selling fried quail eggs. The cooking vessel looks like one of those dishes they serve escargot in. They were so cute but I’m not sure they wanted to be on the other side of the lens.
We didn’t snack on alot but I did have to try these – very lightly tempura battered fried flowers. I got a bag of mixed flowers. I don’t know the name of the purples ones, but the magenta colored ones (on right in left picture) are orchids. In the right picture, the reddish flowers on the very left were actually a little spicy.
The island population seems like one large colony of artists. Here are some sweets for sale: so simple and so beautiful – coconut candies with little handles, and beautiful sugar roses too pretty to eat.
This gal was creating these flowers from a ball of “dough”. Sorry I don’t have any info on the dough that she’s working with. It looked like a marshmallow to me.
She used an instrument much like a pair of tweezers to pinch the leaves of the flower and did it quickly.
I wish now I bought some to try. Next time.