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.
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 :)
In 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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