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Thai Crepes (Kanom Buang)

Kasma Loha-unchit, Saturday, July 11th, 2009

In Thailand there are two types of Crepes that you might run across, both called Kanom Buang.

 Thai Crepe (Kanom Buang Yuan)

Thai Crepe (Kanom Buang Yuan)

The larger ones are called Kanom Buuang Yuan and are made also by some street vendors and available on the menus of many Bangkok restaurants serving classic Thai or royal cuisine. The word Yuan means “Vietnamese” and refers to the Vietnamese Crepes that were the inspiration for the Thai version. In Thailand they are stuffed with a minced mixture of shredded coconut, roasted peanuts, shrimp, salted radish and fried tofu and served with bean sprouts and a sweet cucumber relish.

Kanom Buang Yuan is a recipe that Kasma taught in her weekend Advanced Series, Set A (class 4). 

Kanom Buang Thai

Kanom Buang Thai

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

The smaller version of the crepes are called Kanom Buang Thai, to distinguish them from the larger yellow crispy crepes of Vietnamese origin. Fahrangs (that’s what the Thai people call Caucasians) sometimes mis-call them “Thai Tacos” because of their appearance. These kanom (the Thai word for snack) have a white filling often mis-identified as coconut cream; it is actually meringue – egg whites and sugar. The stringy bright yellow filling is not shredded mango but extruded duck egg yolks cooked in syrup, and the deep orange filling is a mixture of shredded coconut cooked with minced shrimp or ground dried shrimp and colored with orange food coloring (in the past the orange color came from the rich orange butter in the heads of fresh water prawns). Like many Thai sweet snacks and desserts made with eggs, the origin of this particular snack can be traced to the influence of Marie Guimar, the half-Japanese, half-Portuguese wife of a Greek minister (Constantine Phaulkon) to the Siamese royal court in the 17th century. Marie worked her way to the position of head of the royal kitchen and introduced the use of eggs in making desserts and other sweets.

Floating Market Crepes

Floating Market Crepes

Written by Kasma Loha-unchit, July 2009.

Making a Thai Snack (Wednesday Photo)

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Making a Thai Kanom

Making a Thai Snack

Making a Thai Snack

I’m always astounded at the variety of Thai kanom (snacks) that you come across in any Thai market. Sticky rice is best known served plain with mangos, as in Kasma’s recipe Coconut-Flavored Sticky Rice with Mangoes (Kao Nio-ow Mamuang) but there are numerous other sticky rice recipes, including this one: Steamed or Grilled Banana Leaf-Wrapped Sticky Rice Stuffed with Banana and Black Beans (Kao Dtom Pad).

Banana leaves are used in making many kanom. Typically the snack is wrapped in the banana leaf and often grilled or steamed. The banana leaf serves two purposes: it encloses the snack and it adds a bit of flavor, as well. Walking in markets you’ll see various mysterious banana leaf  packages – they are usually worth a taste: they’ll only set you back a very few baht. Be warned: some of them will be savory.

Kasma taught this recipe in her Advanced Series Set D (class 2).

The Wednesday Photo is a new picture  each week highlighting something of interest in Thailand.

The Other Side of Thai Food

Michael Babcock, Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

When you think of Thai food, no doubt a plethora of delicious dishes come to mind. Pad Thai. Green Curry. Tamarind Prawns. Shrimp Cakes. However, there is a whole other side to Thai food that you come across while traveling in Thailand. Often it’s the result of adapting Western foods into a Thai context: this can lead to food that you probably wouldn’t eat on a bet. I say bring on the fried insects – one of the last things I would ever choose to eat in Thailand would be wieners with cheese in a crust, such as that found at a Bangkok mall. Thank you very much! There are a lot of other good dishes to eat.

Wieners in a Blanket

Wieners in a Blanket in Thailand

Thai Cake Store

Gateaux (Cake) House

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

Thai Donuts

Donuts in Thailand

Each year, even in the open-air markets, I see more Western foods for sale, particularly the sweet stuff. Decorated cakes seem especially popular – the picture to the above right was also taken at a shopping mall in Bangkok. There’s even a chain restaurant, S&P, that is known for their Western-style cakes.

If what I see in the markets is any indication, Thai people do have a sweet tooth. These brightly colored donuts are from an open air market in Bangkok. I’ve also seen donuts on a stick. 

Two or three years ago, a Thai friend took us out to dinner and then, as a treat, took us to a trendy dessert place. The main attraction there was big, puffy, white bread that was toasted, cut into chunks, and served with a cloyingly-sweet syrup; most of the syrups were brightly colored, much like the donuts in the picture here. 

Cute Faces and Wieners

Cute Faces & Wieners

I get a bit of a chuckle out of what I think of as “cute food.” The best example I’ve seen was at a park in Krabi – it was little cute faces on a stick along with wieners. I’m guessing it was some kind of fish paste; I confess I did not have the desire to actually try it.

Written by Michael Babcock, March 2009.