Khanom time! Thailand’s inimitable snacks and desserts

Khanom time! Thailand’s inimitable snacks and desserts

They look a bit bizarre, but they taste great, so don't be shy to try these distinctive Thai bitings
Thai khanom
Bangkok's khanom stalls are intimidating. And weird looking. But they're an integral part of Thai cuisine and are definitely worth checking out.

It can be off-putting when you’re hankering for a snack but have no idea whether what you’re purchasing is sweet or savory -- particularly when you’re staring at those frightening blobs found on Bangkok's streets and markets. 

But once you get over their garish colors and odd appearance, Thai khanom (snacks and desserts) are actually quite tasty. Here is a brief introduction to help you identify the best delicacies most suited to your pangs, found in pretty much any Bangkok market or restaurant. 

 

Khanom chor muang

These savory melt-in-your-mouth morsels get their distinctive coloring from the Anchan flower. The dumplings are made from steamed flour sheets and filled with minced pork, chicken or crab along with coarsely-ground peanuts, white sesame, sugar and salt. The word chor (a bunch) refers to the way the dumplings are arranged to look like a bunch of flowers. Aroi mak mak!

 

Cow greab pak mor

These white dumplings are prepared in front of you on top of a hot plate. Salted radish is fried with garlic and coriander root, sugar and soy sauce and folded into white rice flour sheets. They are served in generous portions, so be sure to share, and can be slightly dry so make the most of the dipping sauces available. 

 

La Tiang

La Tiang is a fantastic looking ‘bird’s nest’ concoction. A filling made from minced pork or shrimp and onion, peanuts, coriander, fish sauce and sugar is presented in a striking yellow nest made with eggs. The subtle kick of chilli at the end of the mouthful make it a savory delight. 

 

Khanom thong yord

Khanom thong yord translates as "golden drop" and is an ancient Thai dessert served at weddings to symbolise prosperity for the bride and groom. The super sweet, glossy, orange balls are made from egg yolk, flour sugar and water and are utterly more-ish.  

 

Khanom med kanoon

Named for their resemblance to jackfruit seeds, these tiny desserts are made from duck eggs, mung beans or taro, sugar, coconut milk and jasmine-flavored water. 

 

 

Khanom sali

These light, fluffy sponge cakes perfumed with pandanus leaves originate from Suphan Buri and are the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cuppa.

  

 

Nam kang sai

This ubiquitous Thai dessert is a great cooler for the hot season. A simple bowl of shaved ice is layered with condensed milk and adorned with your choice of three or four toppings, which may include young coconut soaked in coconut milk, black sticky rice, sweetened lotus root, melon, chestnuts, sweetened taro, red beans and sarim (colored worm-like strands made from chewy rice flour). On this one, go for broke -- you’ll have approximately 20 baht at stake -- and you won’t be disappointed.