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Food porn: Shots from real Southeast Asian markets

When I ate at ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro for this week's Westword review, I was fascinated by how Lon Symensma and his partners, Jim and Alicia Deters, had reinterpreted the Southeast Asian market and turned it into a fine dining restaurant. And as I wrote the review, I referred frequently to the many photos I'd snapped of markets in Vietnam and Laos on a recent visit.

The markets in Asia have a frenetic energy, and they inspire all kinds of culinary experiences. Here are my favorite moments -- from the beautiful to the ugly, the delicious to the incredibly strange -- captured in the markets I visited on the Indochina peninsula.

Mekong fish on a roadside grill.
Mekong fish on a roadside grill.
Laura Shunk

Sweet sticky rice in a bamboo stalk.
Sweet sticky rice in a bamboo stalk.
Laura Shunk

The noodle stand.
The noodle stand.
Laura Shunk

The pink, spiky fruit are the kiwi-like dragonfruit.
The pink, spiky fruit are the kiwi-like dragonfruit.
Laura Shunk

Breakfast buffet, market-style.
Breakfast buffet, market-style.
Laura Shunk

Food porn: Shots from real Southeast Asian markets
Laura Shunk

This woman is making doughy rice wrappers.
This woman is making doughy rice wrappers.
Laura Shunk

Those doughy wrappers get filled with meat and topped with a vinegary sauce.
Those doughy wrappers get filled with meat and topped with a vinegary sauce.
Laura Shunk

Dried fish skin, anyone?
Dried fish skin, anyone?
Laura Shunk

Food porn: Shots from real Southeast Asian markets
Laura Shunk

Trotters, before they're trotters.
Trotters, before they're trotters.
Laura Shunk

A surprisingly popular stop in the butcher stall.
A surprisingly popular stop in the butcher stall.
Laura Shunk

The freshest fish
The freshest fish
Laura Shunk

Food porn: Shots from real Southeast Asian markets
Laura Shunk

Those balls of river weed are washed, then dried, flattened, seasoned and eaten with water buffalo skin.
Those balls of river weed are washed, then dried, flattened, seasoned and eaten with water buffalo skin.
Laura Shunk

Haggling over live chickens.
Haggling over live chickens.
Laura Shunk

An eclectic array.
An eclectic array.
Laura Shunk

Live toads.
Live toads.
Laura Shunk

The crowd grows in the early morning.
The crowd grows in the early morning.
Laura Shunk

Food porn: Shots from real Southeast Asian markets
Laura Shunk

Balut -- fertilized chicken egg -- tastes like half-chicken, half-egg.
Balut -- fertilized chicken egg -- tastes like half-chicken, half-egg.
Laura Shunk

Bread and fillings abound.
Bread and fillings abound.
Laura Shunk

More freshly made rolls
More freshly made rolls
Laura Shunk

Made on a street-side wok for consumption at a (tiny) street-side table.
Made on a street-side wok for consumption at a (tiny) street-side table.
Laura Shunk

Pumpkin was everywhere.
Pumpkin was everywhere.
Laura Shunk

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