San Pablo Thai Markets – Hmong smoked pork and beef
I finally checked out the last of the three Thai markets in San Pablo. The fourth market on Rumrill that just has a sign saying “Fish & Bait” has had a sign on the door for a while saying “temporarily closed”.
I don’t have a lot of Thai food experience so this is more of a gringo’s experience. Someone who is Thai might have a very different opinion.
THAT LUANG MARKET
I like this market the best. It is well-organized, clean, the produce is the freshest and there is a larger selection. There are lots of clear plastic containers of house-made condiments and sauces like chili sauce and fish sauce.
They have an excellent-looking selection of frozen fish, meat, veggies and sausages.
The owner is very nice and helpful too. They have fewer plastic trays of prepared food. It has a little kitchen and one table in the back.
LUANG NAMPHA MARKET
This is a small market with narrow aisles. There are a few boxes of decent looking produce up front. They had some nice cherries today. There’s a small refrigerated case with drinks, and cryo-vacked packages of Hmong smoked pork and Hmong smoked beef. There were boxes of refridgerated sweet tamarind. They also rent Thai videos. I didn’t see any prepared food. The owner was nice.
MEKONG MARKET (aka Houa Khong Market)
This market has two signs with two different names. I just can’t warm up to this market. It is like Luang Nampha with narrow aisles and items seemingly spilling off the shelves. They have a larger selection than Luang Nampha, but it just seems dustier, older and more wilted.
They carry the same brand of Hmong smoked pork and beef. There are sausages and beef tendon balls. There is a larger selection of cryo-vacked or frozen veggies and produce like small mango ‘with dip’. Have no clue. Didn’t even look like mango.
In the back an only freezer case is filled with bags of chewing tobacco that perfumes that section. The back of the store is packed with bags of rice and dried noodles. Up front there are a few veggies and wilted greens. They had a tray of spring rolls, a big tub of red chili sauce, and … this still isn’t registering because it seems bizarre … a paper bag filled with un-iced small flat fish.
They also rent Thai videos. They pretty much ignore gringos … sizing you up correctly as someone who isn’t going to buy a thing. They are not nasty, it is just like you don't exist ... an invisible ghost walking thru the store. This site about East Bay Thai markets likes them better than I do and says they get fresh holy basil on Tuesday.
That Luang Market
1610 23rd St.
San Pablo, CA 94806
Luang Nampha Market
1865 Rumrill Blvd Ste G … about a block from Food Barn
San Pablo, CA 94806
Mekong Market … aka Houa Khong Market
2043 23rd St … in the Grocery Outlet strip mall
San Pablo, CA 94806
re: its like buttah
There's a store in Sac, CA. It's call Long Chang Market. They sell the same thing too, but they also have Hmong Clothings there too where anyone goes && if they want to check out the outfits they got there && they even do papaya salad too..yep their foods are good. They have Hmong smoked pork && beef too. They also have fruits that comes from diferent places too.
That Luang Market is actually a Lao market that is owned and operated by a Lao-Vietnamese couple. The name "That Luang" is based on the Pha That Luang, which is the Great Sacret Stupa in Vientiane, Laos. Like many Lao or Thai markets, they carry both Lao and Thai products.
You might want to give this a try at home, it is the Thai version but add some dill and make it Laos style. I like making it in open bamboo cups for ease of eating.
I worked on developing this recipe during my 35+ trips to SE Asia. Each region of Khymer influenced cuisine has made it their own. I have read some speculate it was French influenced ie mousse, I am not so sure as in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand it is quite different. In Thailand you'll find a quite more like Laos version than in BKK.
I for one love the 5th taste/flavour of bitter of this region of SE Asia.