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Nine Auspicious Thai Desserts and Their Meanings

Nine Auspicious Thai Desserts

I’ve been told that I might have gone a little overboard in planning our wedding…

“A nice church ceremony with cake and punch afterwards would have sufficed.”

And it’s true, at the end of the day, all that really matters is that the hubby and I are now married.  But it’s easy to get carried away when there are so many neat Thai traditions to try to incorporate into your special day!

One of the things that I really wanted to bring to our wedding was a selection of auspicious Thai desserts.  These desserts are said to convey special blessings or well wishes upon those who eat them, so are commonly served at Thai weddings, and other major life celebrations.

Nine Auspicious Thai Desserts

So I set out on an extensive search of Thai dessert shops, initially in my local area, and then expanding to all of the United States and even Thailand, trying to find someone who could make these intricate desserts for our big day.

At the last minute, we were able to find many of the nine auspicious desserts at Bhan Kanom Thai in L.A., and even convinced a good friend to carry them on a plane to us for our wedding day!  It worked out great :)

Nine Auspicious Thai DessertsIn all of my searching, though, I had come across Kanom Baan Kwan, a shop with over 25 years of experience specializing in traditional Thai desserts, with locations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  Their desserts looked so appealing online that the hubby and I decided we had to stop by the next time we were in Thailand.

Nine Auspicious Thai Desserts

So this past November, we dropped by the original Kanom Baan Kwan location in Chiang Mai, right outside of the Chang Phuek gate at the northern edge of the city.  We got to watch as these beautifully structured plates of auspicious desserts took shape, and came home with an assortment of Thai desserts to try for ourselves.

Here are the nine auspicious Thai desserts that we sampled, along with the blessings that they convey:

Foy TongName: Foy Tong | Golden Threads | ฝอยทอง

Meaning: long-lasting or eternal love

These long, sweet, golden threads are made by pouring egg yolks through a sieve into boiling syrup.  The syrup is heavily perfumed with jasmine so that the dessert takes on this alluring scent.

 

Tong Yod

Name: Tong Yod | Golden Drops | ทองหยอด

Meaning: continuous wealth

These tear-drop shaped desserts are made by dropping egg yolk mixed with flour into boiling jasmine-scented syrup.  The resulting taste is very similar to Foy Tong, but the texture is different.

 

Tong YipName: Tong Yip | Golden Pick | ทองหยิบ

Meaning: prosperity

Another dessert with a similar taste to Foy Tong, this flower-shaped treat is made by soaking a cooked egg yolk disc in jasmine-scented syrup and then molding it into the shape of a flower petal.

 

Kanom Chan

Name: Khanom Chan | Layered Dessert | ขนมชั้น

Meaning: continuous success

This soft, jelly-like dessert is made from a combination of rice and tapioca flours, coconut milk, and sugar.  It is often infused with pandan or other flavors that alternate in colored layers, but can also be presented as a delicate rose such as this one.

 

Tong AkeName: Tong Ake | Golden One | ทองเอก

Meaning: faithfulness

These flower cookies are made by slowly cooking egg yolk, coconut milk, sugar, and flour until a paste is formed.  The paste is then molded into an intricate flower and topped with gold foil before being perfumed with the aromatic Thai dessert candle.

 

Sanay Jan

Name: Sanay Jan | Charm | เสน่ห์จันทน์

Meaning: charming, loved by others

Sanay Jan is also made by slowly cooking egg yolk, coconut milk, flour, and sugar like Tong Ake, but this dessert features a hint of nutmeg as well.  The overall taste is very similar to that of Tong Ake.

 

Look Choop

Name: Look Choop | Coated Pieces | ลูกชุบ

Meaning: loved by all, adored

Made of mung beans cooked with coconut milk and sugar, these molded fruit and vegetable pieces are as cute as they are delicious.  Once formed, the desserts are dipped in gelatin and painted with food coloring until they resemble miniature fruits or vegetables.

 

Med Kanoon

Name: Med Kanoon | Jackfruit Seeds | เม็ดขนุน

Meaning: supported through life

The name of this dessert is a reference to its shape rather than its ingredients.  It is made of the same sweetened mung bean paste that Look Choop is made from, then shaped into an oval, dipped in egg yolk, and allowed to cook in a perfumed syrup.

 

Jah Mongkut

Name: Jah Mongkut | Crown | จ่ามงกุฎ

Meaning: superiority, triumph

The inner portion of this dessert is composed of a batter like that of Tong Ake, while the outer white details are made of pumpkin seeds coated in syrup and cooked slowly until they are crispy.  The resulting crown-shaped dessert is smoked with the Thai incense candle.

 

All of the desserts we sampled were delicious, and so amazingly detailed and intricate.  And even though we didn’t have all nine auspicious Thai desserts represented at our wedding, we were blessed to have a good sampling of them, and then to be able to enjoy all nine together when we made it to Thailand!

Have you tried any of these traditional Thai desserts?  If so, which are your favorites?  Hubby loves Foy Tong the most, and I can never get enough Med Kanoon…

**Photograph of wedding dessert table courtesy of James Thomas Long

8 comments… add one
  • Steph November 26, 2017, 1:26 pm

    Hi Rachel,
    This looks awesome! Me and my fiance also have the same idea of having these thai sweets for our wedding in France. May I know if in the end you managed to bring these from Thailand?
    Thanks!
    Stephanie

    • Rachel December 1, 2017, 11:45 pm

      Hi Steph! In the end, we found most of the sweets from Bahn Khanom Thai in Los Angeles and had a friend bring them up for us in his carry-on :) The owners of Kanom Baan Kwan in Chiang Mai were very helpful though, and were willing to ship overseas. Unfortunately there were customs regulations that prevented shipping to the US, but this may not be the case for France. Hope this helps!

  • Lynn August 11, 2015, 3:14 am

    Thanks to your beautiful blog, we were able to find Kanom Baan Kwan on our family trip to Thailand this summer. The shop is so thoughtfully designed. The owner took time to explain about her different culinary masterpieces. She took such pride and care in every detail. We tasted so many different kinds and then choose the ones that would hold up best for the long flight home to USA. Visiting this shop was one of the highlights of our trip. Thanks for introducing it to us.

    • Rachel August 11, 2015, 8:43 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that, Lynn!

  • Vudhina June 3, 2015, 6:49 pm

    Hi Rachel,
    I came across your nice Thai food blog here and it’s a wonderful read. Don’t know whether you know that those Foy Tong/Tong Yod/Tong Yip originated from Portugal and was brought over by their seafarers centuries ago? For instance, Foy Tong is derived from “Fios de Ovos” (Egg Tread) just similar to the way how the Chinese dim sum Egg Custard tart came about (“Pastel de Nata”). Even on my trip to Barcelona recently, I spotted these dessert items at their bakeries, but the Thai versions are better! ;-)

    Keep on cooking,
    -V

    • Rachel June 4, 2015, 12:24 am

      Thanks for sharing, Vudhina! That’s really interesting…

  • Annie February 10, 2015, 5:38 am

    What a cool mini-guide! I’ve tried some traditional Thai desserts but I didn’t know that name until now. Khanom Chan is so pretty and it reminds me of a dessert I sampled for my cousin’s wedding.

    • Rachel February 10, 2015, 5:51 am

      Thanks, Annie! It was neat to try these, and many others that we can’t find in the States :)

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