Asian Take Out at the Denman Market
The tang of tamarind, the zing of lime. Chewy noodles, crunchy peanuts. Rich creamy mango, sweet coconut milk, and sticky rice—these are some of the flavours and textures of Thai cooking.
This is the food Pun Villawood Crowe grew up eating on a daily basis in Laos. When love and marriage brought her to Canada about 20 years ago, she decided to share her culinary heritage with her new communities—Hornby Island and then Denman Island.
“I saw that there wasn’t much Asian food or take-out options, and then I was introduced to the farmers market, and I thought I should bring my food to people here,” says Pun.
Pun is now in her third year as a vendor at the Denman Island Farmers Market, where she does a brisk business selling Thai dishes to eat at the market or take home.
Authentic recipes plus vegan gluten-free dishes
Pun’s food is based on authentic recipes, but she has adapted them based on feedback from locals. In particular, she takes care to offer selections that are vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten free as well as dishes containing eggs and meat.
A highlight is the Pad Thai, a classic stir fry dish made with rice noodles, vegetables, egg, and a tamarind-based sauce, topped with chopped peanuts, bean sprouts, crunchy garlic flakes, and a squeeze of lime. Chicken can be added. Often, Pun also offers Pad See Ew. This is also a noodle dish but made with wider noodles than Pad Thai, and flavoured with a sweet-and-sour soy sauce base.
Pun’s salad rolls come in vegan, prawn, and crab varieties. They are filled with crunchy vegetables, flavoured with fresh mint and basil, and served with a peanut dipping sauce. The spring rolls are also vegan.They’re deep fried till crispy, and served with plum sauce.
For dessert, Pun has Thai Mango Rice. As the name implies, this dish highlights fresh mango, served on a bed of sticky rice cooked with sweetened coconut milk.
“I love making food for people,” says Pun. “And the people are so nice at the market. I love when people come back to my stall every week.”
Eli Hason is one of those regulars. “It’s a common Saturday tradition in our house,” he says. “I come to the market and buy a bunch of different dishes and take it home. We eat it for lunch and again for dinner.”
Pun is one of several vendors offering ready-made take-out food at the Denman Island Farmers Market.
Visit her and about 25 other local vendors at the Denman Island Farmers Market, every Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30, at the Old School field. COVID protocols are in place.
Written by Laura Busheikin
Published in The Islands Grapevine, May 20, 2021