Khanom Krok Addiction, My Sweet Medicine

Every now and again, I find a food that I become obsessed with… At home it was vegan ‘no egg’ mayo sandwiches (basically mashed plain tofu with vegan mayo, a bit of mustard and tons of black pepper) or tofu scramble (spotting a theme here?) or veggie sausages (hot, cold, in sandwiches or just on their own straight out of the fridge). I get stuck on whatever food it is that I’m obsessed with and find it hard to move on and eat anything else until the obsession becomes more of a very strong fondness but while I’m in the early phase of the obsession I could happily eat whatever food it is that I’m stuck on for days, weeks even. I lust after it.

Now the Vegan Food Quest is in full swing and we are on the road travelling in Thailand, I have quickly become addicted to Khanom Krok, a little dessert or snack cooked on the street in special pans that look like they could have been ping pong ball moulds in a previous life. I’d like to tell you what the words ‘Khanom Krok’ mean and I found various translations out there on the internet but the best one I cam across was from my translation app which tells me it means “Dr.Candy”. I sincerely doubt this is true but it makes me smile and also makes me secretly think that perhaps this food is so good that it’s actually like a medicine. They do temporarily suspend all ills when eating them, that’s for sure.

Basically they are sort of spherical (but in two pieces) coconut pancakes; crispy on the outside with a soft coconut custard in the inside (often with a little topping of two or three sweetcorn kernels, a few strands of pumpkin or taro but also just served plain). They can be sweet or quite savoury depending on the vendor making the batter but my favourites (made by Khanom Krok Lady at the Trang night market) are made from a batter that is both sweet and salty (in near perfect balance).

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First, the ping pong ball pan is well oiled and then a thin layer of a batter made from rice flour and coconut milk is poured from a stainless steel teapot around the pan to begin to form the outside shells.

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After this, the rest of the batter is poured into each shell and a big flat lid is placed over the top to steam the custard inside. Finally, they are chopped up and served in either a banana leaf or a polystyrene container or sometimes both!

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When they are cooked, the outside is crispy crunchy pancake and the inside is just set, light, sweet/salty coconut custard. Every blissful mouthful is a food lover’s dream and I’m absolutely baffled as to why they aren’t sold everywhere in the world.

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Not only do they taste amazing but they are vegan too (an extra bonus) and so I have developed a series of reasons in my head that urge me to purchase and eat them daily (sometimes even more than once a day). Sometimes I tell myself it’s good to support a vendor selling animal-free food (even if they don’t realise this), other times I convince myself that I’m actually hungry and so I need them for sustenance. Last weekend Khanom Krok lady at our usual night market wasn’t there, I admit I was a bit distraught and TravelMush and I had to take the Vegan Food Quest mission to the other ‘weekend only’ night market down the road to see if she was there instead. She wasn’t but we luckily found a different vendor whose Khanom Kroks were bigger and the custard more set (and also served in nice little banana leaf boats). They were good, but not as good as my favourite vendors creations.

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So now, I have new reasons to fill my head with and encourage me to eat them even more (“maybe these ones will be better?…I’ll just try them for research purposes… The other ones are the best, I should get them now in case she disappears again…”)

We head off to the islands in a few days where the pace of life is even slower and there is nobody selling Khanom Krok (“I should get fill up on them now because I won’t be able to get them soon…”). I have a plan in place to sweet talk the cook where we are staying to see if she will make some for me but it’s a long shot and I expect I will have to come to terms with a life that doesn’t include daily Khanom Krok eating. Unless I just move here… Would that be crazy?

Check out a selection of other vegan travel blog posts…

2019-03-05T07:59:46+00:00

17 Comments

  1. Liz Diamond January 30, 2014 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    I am so loving your blog!

    • VeganMush January 30, 2014 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the support Liz! Glad you are enjoying it… More exciting Vegan Food Quest adventuring on its way and we are now recruiting for the Indonesian leg of the Quest… I know you are tempted! 😉

  2. Shannon January 30, 2014 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Great post! I say eat your fill of them and enjoy them while you can!

    The other thing I love is khanom thuay. They are little coconut custard cups that are steamed. Also vegan and absolutely divine. Have you tried them?

    • VeganMush January 30, 2014 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      That’s the kind of encouragement that makes you very popular over here at Vegan Food Quest HQ! I think I might have tried them tonight by chance! I’ll tweet you a pic x

  3. Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler February 5, 2014 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Looking yummy!

  4. James Prince February 6, 2014 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Finally found some time to see down and work my way through your blog

    Great reading

    Very envious

    Look forward to the next instalment

  5. Mulkern Mush February 10, 2014 at 5:02 am - Reply

    Looks YUMMY!

    • VeganMush February 11, 2014 at 4:29 pm - Reply

      they are very yummy Mulkern Mush

  6. rika@vm March 17, 2014 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    I love them! They are so tasty! We had them at the Phuket Veg Festival!

    • VeganMush March 18, 2014 at 1:32 pm - Reply

      We could not stop eating them:) Was Phuket Veg Festival good fun? We plan to spend October in Trang this year for the Veg Festival….

  7. Amélie September 9, 2014 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    Hahaha! I relate to this immensely! My boyfriend is mad for a bit of khanom krok! The one I prefer is the little cup of coconut jelly with corn inside topped with coconut cream served in a little banana leaf thing. . AARRGHGGHGKD

    • VeganMush September 10, 2014 at 9:49 am - Reply

      they are just delicious – we struggled to decide on our favourite so just kept eating all varieties! we are going back to Trang, Thailand for a Buddhist veg festival in about 6 weeks and plan to eat them every day…at least once!

  8. Franca October 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    We loved Khanom Krok too, I love how crunchy they get from the outside, simply delicious! When we had them in Thailand we weren’t vegan yet which is good to know if we ever go back in the land of smiles 🙂

    • VeganMush October 30, 2014 at 2:21 pm - Reply

      we have just left Thailand and are sad to think we won’t be eating them again for some time!

  9. eileen October 31, 2014 at 12:09 am - Reply

    I feel my mouth watering at your descriptions. They sound (and look) delicious. How come I’ve been to Thailand several times and never heard of this yummy treat. You will have to learn how to make them.
    I love your blog (and I love you)

    eileen
    xxxx

    • VeganMush October 31, 2014 at 6:54 pm - Reply

      Mon at ‘Narumons’ has a Khanom Krok pan so can make you some ‘sweet medicine’s you ask nicely…..we love you too x

  10. […] your eyes peeled for ‘khanom krok’ – our favourite sweet vegan street food made from rice flour, sugar and coconut milk. These little pancakes are nothing short of a wonder […]

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