Tuk Tuk Tours
Explore Bangkok by the iconic tuk tuk
This is a guest post by Mark Wiens who is a bit of an expert on Thai food! Mark is based in Thailand and travels the country (and the world) writing about his eating adventures on www.migrationology.com and www.eatingthaifood.com
Thailand is known throughout the world for its delicious food, but there are also dozens of snacks that are equally delicious and exciting to taste.
Walking down the sidewalk in Bangkok, no matter what street or alley you’re on, you’ll inevitably come across some interesting snacks that you’ll likely find irresistible. In Thailand, snacks are referred to as “kanom” which can really mean anything that is sweet or savory and eaten as a snack rather than a full meal.
There’s a near endless supply of snack options available in Bangkok, and here are a few of our favorite choices:
The first time I saw look chup, I thought they were little models of plastic fruit that would be used for decoration. These little snacks are brightly colored and shaped in the form of bananas, mangosteens, watermelons, or any number of other assorted fruits or vegetables.
The snack is made from green or yellow mung beans, which are mashed into a paste, and mixed with rich coconut milk and sugar for flavoring. Once the mixture is ready, they are formed into small delicate fruit shapes, painted using bright food colors, and finally coated in a layer of gelatin agar agar to give it that plastic looking shine.
Look chup is known in Thailand as a royal Thai kanom, a sweet snack that was traditionally prepared and consumed in the royal courts of Thailand. Nowadays it’s still considered a royal snack, but you’ll find it all over markets throughout Bangkok – and yes you can use it for decoration, but you can eat it too!
Kanom buang is a Thai favorite that’s available hot and fresh from street food carts around Bangkok. First a small crepe like pancake is fried on a hot plate, before a scoop of creamy meringue (made from egg whites and sugar) is added. From there, kanom buang can be topped with either strings of candied egg yolk (foi tong), or a shredded coconut and shrimp candy that’s sweet and salty.
The crepe is crunchy, the meringue is fluffy and sweet, and the extra toppings add more delicious flavor. When you see a vendor selling kanom buang, make an order, and the vendor will serve you a bag of treats that you can eat while walking around.
Khao Neow Sang Kaya
Sticky rice is a common ingredient in many different versions of Thai snacks. Khao neow is sticky rice, and sang kaya is a Thai custard. The sticky rice is cooked with coconut milk and sugar, so it has a rich creaminess to it, and then it’s paired with a slice of thick sweet custard. If you love sweets, this combination is divine.
Sweet sticky rice also forms the base for numerous other Thai sweet snacks. You’re probably already familiar with Thai sticky rice mango, which is sweet coconut sticky rice topped with slices of ripe yellow mango. There’s also khao neow durian, sticky rice with durian, and khao neow na goong, which is sweet sticky rice paired with sweet and salty shrimp – this might sound odd – but the Thais have mastered the combination of sweet and salty.
If you love coconut, you’re going to immediately fall in love with takoh (quite a bit different from taco!). It’s a thick coconut creamy pudding made with fresh coconut, sugar, and enhanced with a pinch of salt which brings out the beautiful flavor of the coconut.
Takoh is normally steamed inside a banana leaf, and occasionally it can have a base of sticky rice or tapioca pearls to give it some extra texture.
Bua Loy Nam King
Bua loy is a dumpling made with sticky rice flour on the outside, filled with a black sesame seed butter paste on the inside. Nam king is a sweet ginger flavored soup which the dumplings are served in. The combination of spicy and sweet ginger soup, paired with nutty flavored dumplings, is both soothing and sensationally delicious.
One of the most famous places in Bangkok to get this delicious dessert is at a sweets stall in Chinatown, along Yaowarat road at night. At the same stalls, you’ll also find many variations of nam kang sai, or Thai style shaved ice. The ice is crushed, flavored with syrup, and or fresh coconut milk, and then topped with your choice of candied fruits.
The best piece of advice we can offer you is to just walk around Bangkok and be adventurous sampling the many snacks available. You’ll be bombarded by an overwhelming quantity of delicious looking things to try, and tasting the variety of Thai flavors and combinations of ingredients is one of the highlights of visiting Bangkok. Exploring the Thai snacks is not only fun and entertaining, it’s always a delicious experience.
Check out this video to see some of these snacks being enjoyed on an Expique tour