Tucked among the heat mirages on the Saharan reaches of lower Newark Ave is a place you will shortly want to visit: Nha Trang Market, between Second and First streets, south side of the avenue. The market is a dim and pungent collection of a great many things southeast Asian, efficiently racked to the ceiling and along the narrow aisles, expansive in both breadth (the spice section) and depth (a snowy bank of iterations on the rice-paper wrapper).
But what you are looking for is not on the shelves; it is sequestered in the back and available on request: a chilled fresh coconut from Thailand, its top chopped off (when you order it) to expose a bit of the white meat, which you puncture with an assertive jab of a straw. Those used to the sourish dribbles from supermarket coconuts cracked open with a hammer will not be prepared for the taste of what’s inside, which is like rainwater falling off a flower, and does something deeply palliative, like a natural Gatorade, to that parched feeling in the back of the throat. (Bonus: “This is the best cure for hangovers,” remarked a tattooed redhead who left with one recently.)
Like any luxury, global scarcity determines the value — the coconuts were unavailable recently due to the political unrest in Bangkok, and will likely disappear again soon, says the gentle fellow who is Nha Trang’s proprietor, owing to Thailand’s epic drought. Hurry.