One Tambon One Product (OTOP) Fair
We seem to be visiting Sapan Hin quite often recently. The whole area has recently been tarted up and Sapan Hin is now a very nice place to come and exercise or have a picnic by the sea, and just a few minutes from the centre of Phuket Town. In early May we came for the Halal Expo, and at the end of last month we were back for the OTOP (One Tambon One Product) Fair, with handicrafts and food from all over Thailand. The "OTOP" program is a government initiative to encourage production and sales of local village (Tambon) crafts, ceramics, clothes, foods, household items... something that maybe typical of that area or is commonly made there. The OTOP program helps to promote these products.
This is a very local affair. We went twice during the week long event and I swear I saw only 1 other foreigner. The event was not promoted in tourist areas, we only knew about it because we happened to drive around town a few days before the start and saw promotional posters. I guess organisers may assume that only locals are interested. I beg to differ.. these kind of local fairs are just what I like!
We first took a walk around Sapan Hin, lots of people taking walks, jogging, enjoying the sea air or just sitting in the late afternoon sun. Sapan Hin has become a really nice place to come and chill out!
About 2 days before visiting this OTOP fair, we'd bought some new furniture for outside our house. And wouldn't you know it, there was plenty to be had here at very good prices. If we'd not just got some, we might well have got it here. I like this kind of rustic wooden stuff carved out of slabs of wood, natural shapes, big and chunky.
Meanwhile, my parents were happy to find a wooden mobile to take home. In the Central Festival mall a few days earlier they were quoted over 300 Baht for one of these. Here at the fair only 100 Baht. So they got two!
Plenty of food stalls around selling drinks, snacks, insects... I have never tried to eat insects. I suppose some people like it. Indeed some people were buying insects at this very stall. Not for me, thanks.
Another stall specialised in tamarind. I do like a bit of tamarind, either eaten alone or made into a sauce. One of my favourite dishes is Kung Pad Nam Makam - fried prawns in a spicy, yet sweet and also a bit sour sauce.
Another stall was selling a snack made from pork rind, what you might call pig snacks or hog lumps. Very good with a cold beer, just like back in the UK :)
We also found a stall selling wooden boxes.. you know, those kind of decorative wooden boxes which are sure to be useful for something, or at least useful as a gift. Everyone has something they want to put in a box, so why not an attractive Buddha box, ideal for "putting things in".
All our wandering up and down rows of stalls was bound to make us thirsty. And I was happy to find a Chumphon coffee stall. My wife is from Chumphon, a town about 400km from Phuket, about halfway to Bangkok. Good coffee. I've been there about 20 times. The coffee man was happy to hear I have a Chumphon connection.
Tasty coffee and even tastier fruit juice. This stall had strawberry juice, lime juice, watermelon juice. 20 Baht per cup. I had 3. It had been a hot day. You gotta love all the fruit you can get in Phuket!