The Blooms of Phang-Nga
The Blooms of Phang-Nga
The seaside, mountain-trimmed province of Phang-Nga is a place for natural worshippers. Tree huggers, me included, would like it here very much here. Whenever we did our southbound road trip, passing through key provinces like Krabi and Phuket, Phang-Nga that is wedged between those two mega-destinations, would appear as a misty and verdant, so magnificent and alluring a place thanks to their spectacular peaks that literally envelop Phang-Nga town.
And when we actually had our chance to visit the town, our mind was equally blown by the fact. This is a stunning place. We love nature and nature is what we deemed truly luxury these days.
A sister province of Phuket, Phang-Nga also has its own trading hub and a trait of Chinese settlements. While their old town of Takuapa which lines along the province’s northern shores boasts a beautiful trace of the time with old and restored rows of the Sino-Portuguese shophouses, other parts of the province are equally amazing. You might have heard about the spectacular Phang-Nga bay, but the best place to view all that is on land, up there on Samed Nangche Viewpoint, not too far from the municipal seat where one can drive around and enjoy the town’s stunning limestone ridges.
The cultural spillover from Phuket also means Phang-Nga retains many of similar deliciousness. Savoury items like rice vermicelli and southern dishes aside, their Chinese-inspired snacks are also the same. Phang-Nga has many popular ‘Tao Sor’ or Chinese pastry puff shops, most adopting and perpetuating the traditional recipes. But if you are looking for something different, there is one place that give the traditional Tao Sor a blooming twist, turning that Chinese pastry puff into something both beautiful and delicious.
Kanom Dok Phing-Nga (or the blossoms of Phing-Nga mountain) is the name of this snack. Using the similar pastry puff of Tao Sor, Kanom Phing Nga has three fillings – local pineapple, mung bean and red bean. Like many other provinces all over Thailand, Phang-Nga has a number of their own community enterprises, usually comprising housewives and women wishing to earn some extra money with a specific set of skills.
Making and selling Phang-Nga’s signature foods are a common practice among community enterprises, but competitions created something new. Instead of following typical recipes of Tao Sor, a group of community enterprise devised some new recipes. Tao Sor which are usually filled with typical mung bean fillings with a variety between sweet and savoury is being made with ‘Miang’ leaves or the local greens typical to Thai southern food. Also, Tao Sor was given a new adaptation. They are made into flower-shaped snacks with fillings of sweet mung bean, red bean and pineapple jelly. Because this enterprise is located at the food of Phing-Nga mountain, they decided to this unique snack the flowers of Phing Nga Mountain. A local creativity that makes a wonderful souvenir.