Crispy Rubies for Dessert

There is no denying that we are quite smitten by listings. From the world’s best to the world’s most everything, we love it all. We love looking at them and list some of them into our own personal bucket lists to later check it out. We want to be in, not out. And the lists – most of them – make it easier for us to screen our priorities.

Tub Tim Krob

Late last year, CNN Travel listed ‘Tub Tim Krob’ or ‘Crispy Rubies’ as one of the world’s 50 best desserts. But what is ‘Tub Tim Krob?’ Why rubies became crispy and edible in this case? This video clip finds out and helps you understand more about this refreshing bowl of chilled Thai ice dessert. #ThaiPBSWorld #TubtimKrob

Posted by Thai PBS World on Saturday, 20 April 2019

So, it was my great pleasure to learn late last year that a Thai jewel ice dessert of ‘Tub Tim Krob’ broke into the list by CNN Travel’s 50 of the World’s Best Desserts. Side by side to Black Forest Cake from Germany, Cardamom Buns from Sweden and Cannoli from Italy is our own beautiful edible gem of ‘Tub Tim Krob’ – or ‘crispy rubies’ in Thai.

Tub Tim Kob is a kind of Thai-style shaved ice dessert. Reflecting the creativities and imaginations of Thai recipes, the crispy rubies are in fact crispy water chestnut cut into minuscule cubes. They are rubbed lightly with grenadine syrup, tossed into tapioca flour and then boiled to cook. Those processes turn them into the jewel-like appearance, hence the name. Tub Tim Krob is usually a part of a larger dessert offering called ‘Nam Khang Sai’ or shaved ice stall where a lot more items are sold together in one roof.

Tub Tim Krob is typically paired with smoked aromatic coconut cream, a twirl of salim or the ultra thin mung bean sweet noodle, a meaty piece of Mapraw Kati or thick meaty coconut, and an extra knob of the naked water chestnut (the one that isn’t covered with the pink tapioca gel) topped with lots and lots of shaved ice. Needless to say, a bowl of Tub Tim Krob is always refreshing, delicious and creamily rich with coconut cream. Perhaps this is why CNN Travel says that a bowl of Tub Tim Krob is definitely ‘worth a flight to Thailand.’

Talking about shaved ice dessert in Thailand, and I came to think that our desserts do not usually fall into the usual regional divisions like their savoury counterparts. There are, of course, some native, local desserts from North to South of the Kingdom, but generally Thai desserts are pretty much ubiquitous from one province to another. A typical shaved ice dessert stall, a good, complete one, will contain not only Tub Tim Krob, but also many other kinds of trimmings. The stall that we went to for this episode is in Hat Yai – a main Southern trading hub in Thailand, have a cabinet filled to the brim with all delicious items one can pick and choose to be included into their shaved ice bowl. From crunchy candied lotus roots, candied palm seed, sweet yam, sweet taro, melon, black jelly, job’s tears, red beans and so on. Some items go well with clear, pandanus-infused syrup, while others do better with smoked coconut cream that is also doubled as Tub Tim Krob’s main sauce.

And since Thai desserts tend to be homogenous, anywhere you go in Thailand, chances are you will be discovering a good shaved ice stall nearby. The best bet is perhaps in the area of the main fresh market where good stalls usually operate. And since Thailand is perpetually hot all year round, a bowl of shaved ice dessert serves you right every time you have a craving for one. By Ohhappybear



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