Only ever having been to Bangkok before, Khon Kaen was somewhere I had never even heard of. I recently attended a 2 day conference at the Centara Khon Kaen Convention Center otherwise I would have probably never visited this city. Driving in from the airport I was a bit concerned but this is actually quite a vibrant city of about 1 million. I had one free day before flying back to work and reality, so thought what better way to spend it than checking out the markets. These are amazing places, full of sights, smells and busy with people selling, buying and going about their daily business. There is something better about these places than anything you get back home. They’re just so interesting. Markets in western countries tend to be sterile (in both senses) and although when you look around the markets in Asia you can’t help but think about the hygiene, I have never once got food poisoning in all my time living, working and eating abroad. Ironically it’s only back in New Zealand that I have got sick where the food hygiene education is much better. Maybe it’s because things here are cooked so fresh. Most things are live and I saw one person selecting a fish to take home; it was freshly killed on the spot with a swift blow of a cleaver to it’s head. The same applies when cooking. I didn’t get a chance to eat out properly on the street while here but as in Vietnam and many other places in Asia, when you order a fish, frog, eel, prawns or whatever you choose to have for your meal, it is taken out of the live tank and cooked in front of you. Now you can’t get much fresher, or better than that.