15 Popular Thai Desserts
Thai desserts are mainly sweet in taste and served in different ways such as with syrup, coconut milk, fruits, or sticky rice. The desserts can be a complement to sticky rice, wrapped in and cooked with banana leaf (bai tong) or pandan leaf (bai toey) to give the food a pleasant smell, have a gooey and jelly texture, and served in a soup. Plenty of street stalls offer Thai deserts, making it easy to find and satisfy sweet carvings.
Here are 15 of the most popular Thai desserts that are loved by both locals and foreigners.
1. Khanom Buang ขนมเบื้อง (Thai Pancake)
This popular street food is cooked in a way similar to crepe. First, rice flour is poured into small circular shapes onto the stove and cooked until golden brown. Usually, coconut cream is then spread on top of the flour. Sweet or savory toppings such as shredded coconut, strips of fried eggs or egg yolks, or chopped scallions are then place on top of the cream.
2. Mango Sticky Rice ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง (Khao Niao Mamuang)
Sweet tropical mango is paired with sweet and salty coconut-milk sticky rice. Toasted mung bean or sesame seeds are sprinkled on top for the finishing touch. The combined ingredients give a rich flavor of sweet, creamy, and salty that is sure to keep you coming back.
3. Bua Loi บัวลอย (Glutinous Rice Dumplings in Sweet Coconut Cream)
Buai Loi means floating lotus. Soft and sticky glutinous rice dumplings are served in warm coconut cream. There can be many ingredients added such as syrup-poached eggs, sesame balls, tapioca, pumpkin, taro, corn, sweet potato, etc.
4. Bua Loi Nam Khing บัวลอยน้ำขิง (Rice and Sesame Balls in Ginger Water).
The rice balls and soft sesame balls are served in hot ginger soup which provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
5. Taohuai Nam Khing เต้าฮวยน้ำขิง (Soft tofu and fried dough in Ginger Water)
Another type of ginger water is with soft tofu and Pa Thong Ko (ปาท่องโก๋) or fried dough. A pairs of fried dough sticks are connected together. It is said that it represents a couple who are very attached to one another while in the original Chinese folkology, the connected doughs represent two people who are punished for their sins by boiling in hot oil.
6. Gluay Kaek กล้วยแขก (Fried Sweet Bananas)
Thai fried bananas are crispy and sweet. Sugar, salt and coconut are mixed together in the flour for flavor.
7. Gluay Cheum กล้วยเชื่อม (Bananas with Syrup)
Unfried banana desert is gluay cheum. The bananas are cooked and soaked with syrup, giving it a pleasant flavor.
8. Look Choop ลูกชุบ (Mung Bean Candy)
Mung bean paste are molded into all kinds of fruit shape and decorated with food colors. Afterwards, it is dipped in jelly to coat the outside. Sometimes leaves are added to the fruits for decoration.
9. Roti Sai Mai โรตีสายไหม (Thai Cotton Candy)
Sai mai means silk rope which is the strands made from sprung sugar in a rainbow of colors. The strands of cotton candy are then wrapped with thin flour pancake and eaten like a burrito. Roti Sai mai originated from Ayutthaya. Sometimes you can watch the Thai street vendor mix sugar with oil and then stretch a single strand to many threads.
10. Thong Yod ทองหยอด (Gold egg yolks drops), 11. Thong Yip ทองหยิบ (Pinched gold egg yolks) , and 12. Foy Thong ฝอยทอง (Gold eye yolk Threads)
Thong means gold, which represent good fortune and wealth. Thong Yod in a shape of a tear drop while Thong Yip is in a shape of a flower. The desert is made from combining egg yolk of hen and duck, flour, syrup, and water scented with flowers. Foy thong are pour through a funnel to create golden threads. Foy thong are served by itself or complement other ingredients such as on Kanom Bueang. All of these three desert are part of the nine auspicious Thai desserts in Khan Maak ceremony or Thai Traditional wedding ceremony.
13. Kanom Chun ขนมชั้น (Layered Dessert)
This layered desert has 9 layers because 9 means moving forward in Thai so it is used for job promotion or wedding ceremony. Usually there are two color that alter, layers which are lighter and darker in color. For example, it can be white and green or just different shades of green. The green from the desert comes from blended and strained pandan leaf.
14. Kanom toi ขนมถ้วย (Steamed coconut pudding)
There are two layers of the desert. The brownish bottom layer has flour, salt, sugar, tapioca starch, jasmine water, and coconut milk while the white top layer has rice flour, white sugar, salt, and coconut cream.
15. Khao Tom Mat ข้าวต้มมัด (Banana wrapped in sticky rice)
Sticky rice, black beans, and bananas with added sugar, salt and coconut milk are wrapped with banana leaves, which has the glossy side facing up and steamed.