6 June 2024

For those who grew up having the sweet treat of Kanom Krok as breakfast, this is a gem, although you will have to make it for a dinner treat. Old-school, three-ingredient Kanom Krok has been disappearing from the streets of Bangkok. But here is a couple perpetuating the old recipe, even when it means making everything by hands and from scratch.

In order for a lot of things to work, circumstances need to be all natural. Carefree. Unplanned. Spontaneous. And this applies to my happy chance meeting this couple who calls themselves a stickler for traditional Kanom Krok, and also getting to eat their delicious dessert which is the main attraction night after night on the street of Ban Mor area, not too far from Bangkok Chinatown.


Kanom Krok—a simple, simple Thai dessert—has gone through a lot of diversifications through the past decades. This small, half-moon-shaped sweet bite (it looks like a half of Takoyaki, only a little thinner) used to be a regular sight in the morning. It could be a breakfast item, with a random street stall, usually with at least two charcoal and terracotta stoves, running the show.


But somehow, Kanom Krok gradually disappeared from the streets of Bangkok. For those who grew up eating the old-school, soft-crusted, custardy texture Kanom Krok, it is hard to enjoy the nowadays mall version with new recipes that were concocted to generate a crispy and oily crust (easier to scoop out) and nothing else.


So when a friend posted on social media about her nostalgic trip to an old-school type Kanom Krok, I was thrilled. It has been a long while that I had that kind of Kanom Krok. The stall opens only at nighttime and it is quite an arduous trip across town.


But the luring tastes of old-school Kanom Krok won. I found myself with electric fan in hand waiting patiently in line amidst the heat and humidity of Bangkok one night. Two stoves are on the top of their cart, two pots of batters, each with a small ladle, their ceaseless motions of hand-pouring into each mold, and then swiftly scooping them out onto banana-leaf-lined paper box. They are so old-school that even the lids of the Kanom Krok are all terracotta – each made to fit the size of individual molds. Fantastic.

And the taste of it brought me back to my childhood. So awesome and worth the trip. The secret, I found out, is that everything – from the freshly-milled rice flour to the coconut milk – is made fresh that afternoon just before the stall opens. Kanom Krok can be one of the simplest Thai sweets. This is an epitome of the fact that traditional Thai desserts comprise only three main ingredients – flour, sugar, and coconut milk. Those trio of staples has been spun around into countless amount of sweet deliciousness. And Kanom Krok is one of them, although the simplicity of it can be deceptive as we found out in many cases.


And who knows? In terms of culinary adventures and creativities, it seems that we have all been to the moon and back. Simpler, more ordinary things might be making a strong comeback as people are circling back to a simpler life that nourishes both their belly and soul. Bon Appetit!

By : Ohhappybear