Colors and scents make Thai desserts both earthy and other worldly. A visit in one of Chiang Mai’s many markets is an eye-opener to Thailand’s sweet flavors and a food adventure that will be far from boring!
Kanom Wan, Thai desserts, are a sweet and sometimes filling snack quite different to Western style desserts. Characterized by sweet syrups, coconut cream, tropical fruits and sweet sticky rice, most of them are complex to make. Flowers like jasmine and ylang-ylang provide beautiful fragrances while herbs such as pandanus leaves give them beautiful organic colours. Given the time they take to prepare, it is surprising they cost so little. Some boutique hotels in Chiang Mai are even presenting these traditional treats as high tea accompaniments.
If you are on the hunt for new sweet treats to delight your taste buds, this handpicked list of six delicious Thai desserts is for you. Trust us, you will be hooked!
1. Luk Chub | ลูกชุบ |
These little desserts are almost too pretty to eat. They are shaped into mini Thai fruits and vegetables like mangos, chilis and mangosteens. The process of making them is uncommonly labor-intensive and it requires grinding steamed mung beans into a sweet paste, shaping them, dipping them in food coloring and glazing them in gelatin. In the old times, this this dessert was specialy made for the royals.
2. Takoh | ตะโก้ | Coconut Cream Jelly.
Tapioca flour mixed with heavy coconut cream, coconut pulp and sugar are mixed and steamed to create an intense coconut custard. Sometimes takoh is served plain while other times it is placed over a bed of tapioca. It is always prepared in banana leaf wrappers.
3. Kanom Chun | ขนมชั้น | Thai Jello.
Thai Jello is similar to Jello that you might find in western countries, however, in Thailand it is sliced up and usually covered with different toppings, such as shredded coconut. The green Kanom Chun are naturally colored with fragrant pandan leaf and layered with coconut cream jelly. Thai jellies are usually a little more strong than average European jellies, which is why they hold their shape so well.
4. Mango Sticky Rice | ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง
Kao Neaw Ma Muang. Heavenly is the perfect way to discribe this classic Thai dessert. The most famous of all Thai desserts, it is made of glutinous rice, fresh mango and coconut milk. Although originating in Thailand, it is consumed throughout the Indochina region. The
peak of the mango season is the summer months of April and May, but you can now find this delicious dessert all year round in Chiang Mai.
5. Thai Roti | โรตี
You will probably have lots of fun watching this dessert be prepared. Roti are considered a signature dessert in Thailand, even though they originate from India. This great on-the-go snack can be found in every market, including the Chiang Mai Night Market. Roti dough is slathered thick with butter before being slapped on a grill. You can choose to add toppings and fillings such as Nutella, bananas, chocolate and more.
6. Kao Neaw Moon | ข้าวเหนียวมูน |
Egg Custard with Sticky Rice.
This deslicious dessert is very similar to Mango with sticky rice, except that it consists of steamed egg custard served on a bed of sweet coconut stiky rice. It is served in pandanus leave.
7. Kanom Krok | ขนมครก
Sweet and Savory Grilled Coconut-Rice Hot-Cakes.
These creamy and fragrant bite-sized desserts are cooked in a charcoal-heated pan with small craters, which result in little rich coconut cups. They are a favorite among Thai people and are widely eaten in the mornings at street vendors around Chiang Mai. A box of Kanom Krok normally has 10 pairs (20 pieces) and costs around 40 baht.
8. Kanom Buang | ขนมเบื้อง | Small Crispy Crepe.
Kanom Buang are referred to as the Thai crepe. They are normally stuffed with cream along with other sweet or savory toppings including Foi Thong (golden egg yolk threads). These crepes are a delicious sweet dessert, and the texture of the soft and juicy stuffing contrasts nicely with the crispy golden brown crepe. Small Kanom Buang cost about 2 Baht per piece and are sold in bags of 10 pieces.