Sawadee Ka, Bangkok Market!
After Nikki Wood had nothing but good things to say about it on Bites a couple of months ago, I decided to pop by Bangkok Market for some provisions. I'd run out of instant noodles and sauces, and Charlotte Pike seemed even further out there than normal so I drove over to the 100 Oaks area to check this little place out.
First thing I noticed was how nice the decor was. It doesn't smell funky like some other Asian markets and, admittedly, I was concerned that with how sterile it seemed it'd also have very little to choose from. Boy was I wrong. Now, there's nothing wrong with a stinky international market. There's definitely something to be said for fish that's still (somewhat) swimming in the tanks or lobster writhing about - fresh seafood is hard to come by and sometimes you want your crab still alive before you toss it in to the pot.
No? Just me? Alright then, moving on...
One of the MANY things they carry is seafood, except it's frozen, either cut into serving sizes or still whole. They also have, in the same room, fresh produce and fruit that they bring in every Thursday and a freezer section of dumplings, baos, frozen veggies and authentic Asian food. And I mean authentic. The last time I saw bugs in a freezer I was at King Market where it didn't quite surprise me to see frozen, vacuum sealed insects for comsumption because it's King Market and it's not exactly the fanciest of markets. Bugs aside, one thing that I really like about Bangkok Market is that it's clean, they put a lot of thought into the decor but they don't hold back on authenticity.
Bangkok Market also has a LOT of ingredients, pastes, sauces, seasoning, mixes, soup bases, canned fruit and vegetables and snacks. From Thai to Japanese to Korean to Indian to Chinese/Malaysian flavors, you'll probably be able to find what you need for a dish. And if you don't know what you need, they have free recipes for Thai dishes to take. How's that for good thinking??
Friends have asked me how I cook rice and I'll be straight with you like I am with them - I use a rice cooker. Perfect everytime unless I add too much water. You'll be able to find lots of good Asian brands of rice as well as good sized rice cookers at Bangkok Market, plus other cooking utensils and equipment. Also flours (rice, tapioca, regular), noodles and pretty much all you'll need if you ever want to make Asian food at home.
My needs were met - I left with eight packets of instant noodles (four Papa brand Tom Yum mee, four Korean brand ramen), a jar of Laksa mix I'm going to try and see if it measures up to the Prima brand mix I bought from home, a jar of crispy, fried shallots, a jar of chili paste and a bag of fishballs and I spent $16. Had I tried to buy all that at a regular grocery it probably would have cost me about twice as much.
Oh and I can't forget their snack section! They had so much to choose from and I had to practice a ton of restraint to not have walked out with one of everything. If you're looking for sweet, they have little cakes and cookies including one of my favorite childhood snacks, Yan Yan. They also have Hello, Panda! (99 cents!), Prawn crackers and something else from my childhood, dried cuttlefish.
SO! If I haven't grossed you out, if I've piqued your interest even more in Bangkok Market, head on over there. Bangkok Market is a family owned business and I had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners, Camille who was such a delight to chat with. She told me that after years selling office furniture, her husband decided to open a wholesale Asian market and for that, I am SO grateful. It's also really easy to find. It's on Powell Ave, right after the Armory Drive interstate exits in those big warehouse buildings with the teal/green roofs.
Bangkok Market | 3207 Powell Ave, Nashville | (615) 333-3783