Freshest of Phuket Morning Market
By – Ohhappybear
Wise people, and I mean wise foodie people, once told me that to get to really know the place well, you might want to start at the fresh market. The stomach of the place, the galley, the soul, and direct path into the heart of locals.
So, in Phuket, we usually feast our eyes and stomach at their main Kaset Market in the city centre. At the break of dawn, locals come here for their favourite ‘puddings’ or ‘Kanom Sod’ or ‘fresh desserts’ – made fresh daily and available in droves, in all forms and colours. Many of these puddings contain auspicious connotations, too.
As previously mentioned, Phuket is a city obsessed with foods. So much so that their delicious obsession earned them a global spot on the UNESCO’s list of City of Gastronomy since the year 2015. Global recognition aside, the awareness of this precious and edible treasures prompted locals to get active in the perpetuation and, in many cases, restoration, of the old recipes. Phuket has a wide array of traditional puddings. And like many other things of this province, these puddings are part Chinese, part Thai, with a hint of Malay.
You might find many of the puddings in this market similar to the ones you can find in Singapore, Penang, and Indonesia. These are something in the so-called Peranakan repertoire, the tasty combination of edible things derived from histories of trading along the Malay Peninsula.
Among traditional Phuket puddings is ‘Ang Ku Kueh’ – or the red tortoise pudding. Ang means red and Ku means tortoise. Together, they are auspicious. Ang Ku has two parts – the shell made from kneaded glutinous flour, the filling made from sweet mung bean paste. Simple, yes. But simplicity, as you might have witnessed so many times in your life, can be deceptive. The flour requires not only a good kneading, but also a good resting time. The mung bean paste also has to be just right. As always, the quality of all ingredients reflects everything.
With its auspicious meaning and form, Ang Ku Keuh has always been a good part of local deity worshipping and ceremonies in Phuket. Ang Ku Keuh is also a part of welcoming ceremony for new born baby when he or she is one month old. A great reason to munch on this delicacy.
Being recognised by UNESCO uplifted the spirits of local foodies, too. These puddings are century old, but somehow they survived the test of time. “These fresh desserts are always a daytime staple of Phuket family. We serve them almost everyday in our house, a way to perpetuate them across generations,” said Khun Kanokwan Kattikamas, the second generation traditional pudding maker in Phuket. With hers and her mother’s times making these puddings together, these recipes can be as old as one hundred years.
These puddings have also been included in curriculum of local schools in Phuket. Another great way to educate youngsters of the treasures of their hometown.