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SFLS#34 - Songkran at Tuk Tuk Market, Berkeley

Melanie Wong | Apr 16, 200602:57 AM

Eleven SF lunch-hounds mustered in Berkeley to celebrate the Thai New Year in the parking lot of Tuk Tuk Market. At 11am, we were some of the earliest arrivals and the food booths weren't quite ready for business. No matter, this gave us more time to check out the offerings and figure out the system. We put $10 each into a group kitty to buy food coupons. Most dishes were $5 and desserts were $2.

About the time the food was ready to serve, the rain started coming down again. We abandoned our table in the parking lot to move inside the store. The 'hounds who were waterproofed in Goretex volunteered to handle our group's food purchases outside in the downpour.

Cynsa managed to scavenge an assortment of chairs and we commandeered a utility cart to use as a buffet table for our plates. We were clustered in front of the saffron-robed monks dining at a long table with a shrine. I whispered to Mary that I had a certain guilty feeling like eating in church.

In three rounds of purchases, we shared:

Green papaya salad
Chicken larb
Green curry chicken
Vegetarian yellow curry (that mysteriously had chicken in it)
Red kabocha curry
Beef Penang curry
Chicken satay with sticky rice
Pad Thai
Mango with sticky rice
Halo-halo-like coconut cream with young coconut, corn and chewy thingies
Chendol-like pandan-flavored green worms in coconut milk
Many other desserts

In the interlude between our savories and dessert, the monks chanted a blessing and sprinkled us with holy water. When the rain broke, we were treated to a classical dancing performance outside. The shrine and table where the monks were seated inside the store was rearranged to squeeze in a massage table manned by a well-known Thai masseuse!

I had a fun time sharing this slice of local Thai culture with the 'hounds who turned out. Please jump in with your comments.

Link: http://flickr.com/photos/melaniewong/...

Image: http://static.flickr.com/50/129228042...

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