By James Scott
This month I wanted to focus on a place you may have overlooked, yet driven by hundreds of times. Ratanakorn market is located directly beside the Colosseum show on Theppasit road in South Pattaya. It has now been open for 2 years and is only now starting to gain its footing. Originally slated for a Condo called the Greenery, some how along the way it became the big orange building that is Ratanakorn Mega Market. This market is often overlooked as when the front area is filled with street cart vendors preventing passers by a true idea of what this market offers.
Throughout the day this market changes, The early shift from 5am until late afternoon there is a wholesale market at the back of the building offering fruit, vegetables, eggs, and meat. This is not a tourist market by any means, but great deals that will beat prices at your local market are your reward for exploring the Ratanakorn Market. Early mornings you will find heaps of Pineapple, Coconuts, Pomelos, Bananas or whatever else is currently in season. There is no pretty food displays here, but there is bargain prices, and no you don’t need to order 20 to get a deal, they welcome the normal shopper as well. While many don’t speak great english, they all have trusty calculators to cross communication barriers.
You will also find a fair amount of vegetables, huge heaps of chilis and sometimes you will see large tables laid out for drying the chilis. There are a few butchers here, an egg booth and even a few food stalls. The numbers have been growing steadily over the last few months as there is still a lot of room to expand.
The center/front of the building is growing with stalls and is mainly focused on the Colosseum side to cater to the busloads of tourists coming and going to the show daily. This area features a variety of clothing shops that are open from around 3 in the afternoon until 8 or 9 at night.
The biggest reward for visiting this market in the evenings is the row of mid sized restaurants on the left side of the property bordering the Colosseum. All the restaurants are open air, but they each offer different dining experiences. The first 3 restaurants are Thai style and offer a variety of Thai food, some with live music, the 3rd Thai restaurant introduces a more “hut in the jungle” feel. Then things start to change with MAY’s Urban Thai Dine. They continue with the thatched roof style but thats where the similarities end. MAY’s is the true hidden gem to be found here, with a modern take on many Thai favorites and a rustic modern atmosphere this small restaurant has quickly risen to #4 restaurant in Pattaya according to Trip advisor. This has led many a visitor to seek out this less than high profile location.
After MAY’s things change again with Le St. Trop one of Pattaya’s newest french restaurants. Taking a more traditional approach to French dining with a internationally trained Thai chef Le ST. Trop is able to offer French and Thai cuisine in a relaxing atmosphere.
Of course there is always the tradition street cart vendors at the front as well, They are open late often past midnight and you can get a great Pad Thai for 40 Baht, and sit next to the army of dancers and ladyboys going for dinner after their performance next door at the Colosseum. I would also recommend if you want to try the Kaao Kaa Moo (Pork Leg on Rice) featured in the food section this month, there is a regular vendor here as well.
Now you see Ratanakorn market never really sleeps, its daily rhythms always have some part of the market awake, alive, and ready for you to visit.