“กาด(kad)” is a Lanna word referring to a market. There are various types of markets in Chiang Mai so there are multiple Lanna words describing each type of market. For starters, there is a Lanna word, “ตูบกาด(tub-kad)” which means a small-size market. Aside from that, there are also words like กาดนัด(kad-nad) which refers to a marketplace that people consistently gather in a certain time, especially a wet market.
As many Thai people consider a temple as a place for spiritual anchor, a market serves as a gathering place for the local community. In the old days, several markets in Chiang Mai were situated near some temples, originating Chiang Mai old sayings like wish to visit a market, visit the lee; the lee in this phrase was the name of a market that was near the Phra Singh Woramahawihan Temple that used to be called as Lee Chiang Phra Temple at the time. Although the name was changed after a certain buddha figure, the Phra Buddha Sihing, Chiang Mai folks still refer to the market with the original name.
After ages, some words associated with a market like “กาด(kad)” were replaced with more modern counterparts; like “ตูบกาด(tub-kad)” which has turned into “กาดชุมชน (kad-chum-chon; chum-chon means community in Thai)” aka. “ตลาดสด (talad-sod; meaning wet market)”. There are even more varieties of the market nowadays. I, the writer also have been visiting many markets since I have to prepare meals for my family; Conveniently, I would pick a market that is not too far from home.
Chiang Mai Markets of the Past (Over 30 Years ago)
My father was a picky eater, he was always hell-bent on seeking his desired dishes, and one of his favorite dishes was tam-koong-foi (spicy riceland prawn salad) which was an over-the-top hindrance since it was basically impossible to buy any riceland prawn in our town’s wet markets. Seeking the prawn, we had to go to Chamni Norakan Market, a wet market located on the other side of our town, and it had to be before 6 a.m. due to the excessive demand for the prawn in those days.
In case we missed our chance in Chamni Norakan Market, we may have to travel to another market, the Kom Market, and hope that there would have some riceland prawn for us. Not only that, my family’s ridiculous spicy riceland prawn salad recipe requires living prawns as well, some families might be fine with dead ones but not for my family.
If you wanted to have any other food besides our home-cooking in the age, visiting Chiang Mai Gate Market was a must since there were plenty of food stalls that served delicious dishes. Unfortunately, because my house was nearer to the Ton Phayom Market, we mostly bought food from there instead. Amusingly, modern Chiang Mai folks have started to prejudice that Ton Phayom Market’s customers are mostly teachers or instructors, and if you see anyone buying stuff in Chamni Norakan Market, chances are that person may be rich.
Aside from the mentioned markets, the Warorot Market aka. Kad Luang and Mueng Mai Market were great choices of destinations for holiday shopping or when you wanted to buy stuff in large quantities.
Additionally, to buy stuff at a cost-effective price, I would avoid a stall or shop in which the sellers were sitting comfortably behind their desks since it was highly possible that they were targeting consumers in the wealthier sections of the demographic. Although both down-to-earth stalls and the well-established shops were in the same market, the vibe, and varieties of goods that both types of sellers provide were distinctive.
Chiang Mai Markets Nowadays
The modern markets are very organized, they were divided and categorized in different sections. If you are looking for some delicious dishes, seek no further than Siri-Wattana Market aka. Tha-nin Market, although it is not an ideal choice if you are looking for some local vegetables or herbs. If you are looking for a market with more varieties of herbs and vegetables, Kom Market is perfect for you; it is filled with varieties of goods and foods, providing you with an entertaining buying experience. Some markets have transformed into souvenir marketplaces, so I haven’t often visited them as in the past. Meanwhile, some authentic market like Chamni Norakan Market has been being in crisis due to the pandemic which decline the number of tourists and forced business to shut down. The market has become almost empty, to the point that some sellers even start to think that eventually, the owner of the market may need to pay sellers to open their businesses here or the market is not going to make it