Here’s the third video in my “Great Eats in Bangkok” series. In this chapter, Tawn and I head out for a typical Thai breakfast in our neighborhood, Thong Lo. While Thong Lo has developed over the years in the “Beverly Hills of Thailand” it is actually still a very local neighborhood with a wide socioeconomic range, various cultures, and everything from Mercedes Benz showrooms to sidewalk vegetable stalls.
Our breakfast consists of two things: jok (congee), a Chinese style rice porridge served with ginger, green onions, a fresh egg, and white pepper; and khao gaeng, a “curry and rice” shop that serves various curries, soups, and stir-fried dishes that you pick and choose from in a “Panda Express” sort of way, but much better. One thing that was interesting is that we ordered the jok at one shop, then carried the bowl down to the khao gaeng shop, returning the bowl after we were done.
As I promised, my “Great Eats in Bangkok” series is in fact becomming a series and not just a single video. Using my new wireless microphone that plugs into a Kodak Zi8, the audio quality is a bit better than the first time I shot the footage for this episode. I’ll have to keep playing around with the equipment in order to learn to master it, but hopefully each successive volume of the series will get better.
In this volume we explore one of my favorite Thai desserts, something called khanom krug. “Khanom” is the broad term used for snacks and nibbly type of desserts and “krug” refers to the half-sphere shape in which these tasty treats are made. You can loosely describe khanom krug as “rice flour and coconut milk pancakes”, although that description fails to capture what makes them so special and worth seeking out.
The interesting thing about khanom krug is how it is composed of two batters, both made with rice flour and coconut milk. One batter is a little saltier and the other is a little sweeter. The sweet batter is poured into the indentations in the pan, filling them about 2/3 of the way. Then a few seconds later the saltier batter is added. Savory fillings such as corn, taro, or free onions can be added (but just as often, are not) and then the whole thing is covered and allowed to bake and steam for several minutes.
Once the khanom are fairly firm, but still a little molten in the middle, the halves are scooped out and paired together for serving. You have to be careful of a few things when eating them: first, they will be incredibly hot and the interior will decimate your tastebuds like lava flowing through a forest. Second, don’t let the vendor put the container of them in a bag. Steam is the enemy of these khanom and they will lose their crisp exterior very quickly. Third, solve that problem by eating them right away!
I hope you enjoyed the video. A third one is being edited now and the first volume, focusing on rice noodles called guaytiaw, is here.
As Andy whirled into town for a three-day side trip from visiting his parents in Taipei, I had high hopes of producing this mega-video in which we would taste all the great things to eat in Bangkok. Sure enough, during the course of two full days we ate a whole lot of things that would qualify for the “great eats” list. But as I sat down to edit the video, I realized that I didn’t have enough footage to really address that many dishes.
Since I promised a video a few days ago, I’ve gone ahead and edited a first volume of what I expect will be at least a dozen (and probably more) videos that highlight various great eats in Bangkok. Volume One focuses on guaytiaw – rice noodles – and particularly the pink-broth fish soup called yen ta fo. It doesn’t provide as much depth on the various types of guaytiaw as I’d like, so I imagine a revisit of the subject will occur one of these days.
Before editing the next video, I’m going to shoot some more footage and do better advance planning so that I can make sure that future volumes provide you with the high level of quality that you deserve. In the meantime, you can visit Andy’s blog to see some beautiful pictures of the other foods we ate and the places we went.
Please share any feedback you have, let me know if there are any particular types of Thai food you would like me to address.
Thanks to Andy for taking the time and energy to visit. We had lots of fun and look forward to seeing you again soon.