October 22, 2007

Retro-Blogging: Summer, Part 2

Told you I'd be back sooner than later! Unfortunately, the reason that I can afford to blog today is because school was canceled as many others are due to the fire disaster around San Diego County. I hope everyone and their families are safe and evacuated if necessary. Where I am located, visibility is fine but the air quality is bad. As soon as I step outside, I can smell the burning. This reminds me of the fire storm in 2003 when I was still at UCSD--I remembered that it was snowing ashes and burning debris, and school was canceled for 4 days. I am thankful that my friends and their families, despite the threats to their homes, are safely evacuated. Mr. Tall's office is also closed so we are both home intently glued to the news on TV. Please stay safe out there!

Continuing on from the last post of my summer in the Motherland: at the beginning of my trip, a girl friend of mine from UCSD had the opportunity to stay with me in Bangkok for a few days, so we took a boat tour through Chao-Praya River and visited the Koh Kret (Kret Island) community. Koh Kret is known for their traditional, handmade pottery and delectable sweets. One of my favorite things that you cannot find anywhere else but Thailand is Ka-Nom Buong. It's sort of like a crispy, mini-pancake filled with coconut cream and Foy-Tong (golden and very sweet dessert made of egg yolks and sugar). The first four pictures show how they make these delicious morsels.

At last, the Ka-Nom Buong are gently folded into a taco-shaped, bite-size dessert.

As we rode around the Choa-Praya, we made various stops around the Koh Kret community. We also saw that the floating community and lives subsisting on the river are still vital in this day and age in Bangkok. We made a stop at small shop with various homemade handicrafts as well as fish cakes--Tod Mun Pla. The fish cakes are uniquely Thai because they are spiced with curry paste and served with the sweet chili sauce vinaigrette and cucumber.

The fish cake lady frying up the hand-formed fish cakes in the ginormous wok.

These fish cakes are served hot in a banana leaf bowl and topped with fried sweet basil.

One of the truly traditional Thai delicacies is Kao-Cher, or rice in iced Jasmine water. I know that sounds really weird, but it's really quite refreshing and delicious. The restaurant along the river that we visited was renowned for its Kao-Cher and traditional Thai desserts. It was actually my first time eating Kao-Cher and I really enjoyed it. The cooked rice are served with iced water that has been fragranced with Jasmine flowers. The rice is served with a variety of sweet and savory sides such as Mee-Krob (sweet crispy noodles), fried Kra-Pi (fermented shrimp paste), and pickled vegetables.

The desserts, including the one that is inside the Ka-Nom Buong, are made with egg yolks, flour and sugar and cooked in a large copper wok filled with syrup. The desserts are all hand-made. Unfortunately, when we got there, they had already finished the batch for the day (we went on a week day so it wasn't too bustling) so we could only see the finished products. They also make a variety of other desserts that you can take and enjoy at home. Because such desserts are so popular, there are other shops that hand-make their desserts in massive quantities.

The Tong-Yip is one of the egg yolk-sugar desserts. The dessert names have "tong" which means "gold" in Thai because of the golden yellow color of the sweets.

The neatly folded bunch of golden goodness are the Foy-Tong, resting before they are packaged. Here are some of the other beautiful desserts there:

Tong-Aek: bite-size sweets made of ground yellow mung beans and topped with gold leaves.

Sum-Pun-Nee: similar ingredients as Tong-Aek but colorful and usually molded with flower imprints.

The next stop we made was at a dessert house that produced a massive amount of Foy-Tong and Tong-Yod. One of the really cool things there were these old-fashioned candy that my mom was really excited to see. From old-fashioned gum to candy bars, my mom grabbed a few things for herself and my grandma to enjoy. The mass production of the desserts was really amazing. They are all still handmade but with the help of some interesting small machinery to help drop the Foy-Tong and the Tong-Yod into the boiling syrup. They sell kilos upon kilos of these desserts to retailers in Bangkok and all around central Thailand. We bought a kilo of the Foy-Tong to share with the family. The desserts are delicious but are quite sweet so one person could only eat so much before you are overdosed with sugar.

The Tong-Yod machine dropping bite-size rounds into the boiling syrup and then transferred into a resting pot.

The Foy-Tong man handling a load of the golden strands desserts.

Man, this entry is getting quite lengthy. I shall end with a handful more pictures from the rest of the trip to Koh Kret. I just realized that I took so many pictures from this trip that you'll all have to read about it for the next entry or so!
Handmade pottery before being fired up at Koh Kret.

Deep-fried flowers at a vendor.

One of my favorite non-foodie pictures: a pagoda at a Koh Kret temple.

I shall leave you with floating vendors serving noodles on the riverside. More good eats in Thailand to come!

Little Miss Contrary


caninecologne said...

Glad to hear you're okay. My work (at a high school) let off early today and it's cancelled tomorrow. Not sure if it will be cancelled the whole week due to the air quality.

Enjoyed your post about your trip back home. Lovely photos and great descriptions of the snacks and desserts. One day, I would love to visit Thailand. Keep up the good work!

KirkK said...

Hey LMCC - I'm glad you are well and safe.

girl said...

how do you say CRAZY JEALOUS in Thai?

(miss u)