I can safely say that desserts in Thailand are INCREDIBLE, and with such amazing sweet treats on offer here in the Kingdom – and with an abundance of coconuts and mangos – it is often difficult to pick which one is the finest. However, after much deliberation, I have narrowed my selection down to 5.
5. A delicious dish of Thai custard with pumpkin, Sangkhaya Fak Thong (recipe) is one of the more memorable Thai desserts you will encounter on your travels. It is also very common in Cambodia. The custard is usually coconut-based and it is steamed inside the pumpkin, then served as you find it. The concoction of tastes is amazing!
You will see Sang Khaya Fak Thong, and a few other regional variations, all over Thailand and neighbouring countries, although without question, the most authentic kind can be found in the Thai capital, Bangkok, in roadside cafés.
4. Khanom Tokyo (recipe) is a delicious sweet pancake roll and is an adaption of the dorayaki Japanese pancakes that were first sold in Thailand in the 1960s. It has since became a firm favourite snack for Thai children in particular. Khanom Tokyo is basically a crispy crepe and a filling of various ingredients inside, such as vanilla cream, pandan, sausage, or shredded coconut.
The best place to find Khanom Tokyo is in Bangkok. Although cafés and restaurants sell them by the bucket load (and very cheaply), the adventurous among you may try some exotic fillings such as quail eggs or tarantula in street markets along Khao San Road!
3. In Thai cuisine, the bright and shiny bitesize sweets known as Luk Chup (recipe) certainly stand out. Introduced to Thailand by Portuguese adventurers way back in the 1600s, luk chup are made by boiling mung bean, sugar and coconut milk into a pulp, then kneaded into uncanny shapes of miniature cherries, oranges, watermelon slices, or even eggs – and the adorable finished products are almost too pretty to eat!
You can find a lot of luk chup on street food stalls, especially in Bangkok, although in the southern provinces such as Surat Thani you will also be able to enjoy the colourful sweets as you sip a Chang Beer on the beach!
2. Although traditional European-American style ice cream was first introduced to Thailand by foreigners, Thailand has quickly adapted it’s own unique version. I-dtim Mat Phrao (recipe). In case you’re wondering, “i-dtim” is how the word “ice cream” has been rendered by Thai accents over the years, and “mat phrao” means “coconut”. Made with coconut milk rather than cow’s milk, i-dtim is both sweet and refreshing, and many Thais as well as tourists also enjoy it wedged between a folded piece of white bread!
The best place to find the freshest I-dtim mat phrao is on the beaches of the Andaman coast, where it is available on every street corner, and even commercially in local convenience stores. Mobile ice cream vendors will also no doubt harass you on the beach as you’re trying to top up you tan!
1. What do you get when you add authentic, slow cooked coconut sticky rice and decadent coconut cream to some of the world’s most delicious mangoes? Well, if there were only one sweet that would decidedly be the classic Thai dessert, it would have to be Khao Niao Mamuang (recipe). If you’re wondering, “Khao niao” refers to sticky rice, and “Mamuang” refers to mango. It’s true that this popular dessert can be found in Thai restaurants all over the world, but it always seems to taste better in Thailand. One reason is the quality of mangoes – there’s just nothing like the golden sweet and amazingly cheap mangoes produced within the Kingdom.
The good thing with Khao Niao Mamuang is that it is available all over Thailand, and it is very, very cheap! The best varieties are usually found in small cafés by the roadside, and if you’re lucky, you might find a specific recipe that has been passed down from the generations!
So which Thai dessert makes your tummy rumble? Anything sweet that you’ve seen or heard about from Thailand that didn’t make my list?