ALL roads lead to the Fishing Base in Garapan on Thursday nights as the mouthwatering aroma of food and the lively music from the stage lure locals and tourists for the weekly street market.
Beginning around 5 p.m. the Street Market feast begins and the place is transformed into a destination where one can have the ‘taste of Saipan’ all in one place. The street market runs all the way till 9 p.m.
At the street market, rows of stalls owned by popular restaurants specializing in a variety of cuisines from Chamorro, Thai, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese and more offer very cheap food. Majority of the food stalls sell five choices for $5, a complete meal you usually can’t have for that amount on any given day.
Get your fill of grilled barbecue, fried fish, squid grilled as you watch and breathe in its irresistible aroma.
Here is where you can find the widest selection of local favorites, like desserts that are not usually found on any day at the stores. You can buy fresh fruits whole or sliced, drink coconut juice straight from the shell for a dollar, go for healthy pearl shakes and fruit juices, or munch on a stick of chicken or pork barbeque sold for a dollar.
Kids can enjoy ice cream cones or colored cotton candy.
At the other side of the food stalls, one can buy souvenir items, trinkets, dresses and shirts, paintings, handmade jewelry, local art products and other crafts.
At the center of the street market grounds are long tables and benches where people can eat their food and watch the performers on the makeshift stage. The entertainment varies from live bands, musical numbers, stringed instruments, and cultural dancers. At special occasions, visiting performers from Korean, Japan, and other countries grace the stage to the delight of the audience.
The street market has become very popular especially with the tourists, and has become one of the must-not-miss events if they happen to be on island on a Thursday.
It is by far the best place to go to sample the island’s diversified cuisine very cheaply. A lot of local residents flock to the street market for dinner and even buy extra food so they won’t have to cook when they get home. The street market is a family-friendly event and alcohol consumption and smoking is prohibited within the street market premises.
As a special bonus, the street market area is one of the best spots to witness Saipan’s most spectacular sunsets.
(First published at the Marianas Variety Guam special Sunday edition for January 25, 2015 page 8 HERE)