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 Bangkok. Common toppings are green onions, sweet corn and taro and these treats are best eaten piping hot off the pan.
Thai ice cream, or itim, is lighter, less creamy and sweeter than its American counterpart. You’ll find flavors like coconut cream, Thai tea and jackfruit.
Thai ice cream is often served in creative ways, sometimes in empty coconut shells or in between toasted sweet rolls. We even found a place in Bangkok’s Chinatown that serves ice cream in hot pots that would normally be used to serve tom yum soup with liquid nitrogen in the middle for a dramatic effect.
2. Luk Chub
These pretty little desserts 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. No wonder this dessert was only available for the royals back in the day.
3. Woon Bai Toey
Thai people eat gelatin in many forms. This one is made out of the fragrant pandan leaf and layered with coconut cream jelly. Thai jellies are usually a little more “al dente” than your average Jell-O treat, which is why they hold their shapes so well.
4. Tup Tim Krob
This dessert is made of water chestnuts dipped in red food coloring, then tossed in cassava flour which gives it a soft, chewy exterior. The water chestnuts are then served in ice and coconut milk, which is lightly seasoned with salt. It’s perfect for a hot day.
Tup tim krob is a good example of how Thai desserts typically balance sweet and salty flavors.