6 Local Thai Desserts You must eat in Thailand
When you think of Thai cuisine, desserts probably don’t immediately spring to mind. Tourists coming to Bangkok are usually too busy hunting for pad Thai or curries to give Thai sweets (khanom Thai) a second thought. We think it’s time to give these sweet Thai snacks the love and respect they deserve with a list of six fantastic Thai desserts that you can’t miss.
Mango sticky rice
The undisputed king of Thai desserts – mango sticky rice, or Khao niew mamuang as it’s known in Thailand. This much-loved Thai dessert is made up of sweet, ripe mangoes with sugar sweetened coconut milk-drenched sticky rice and a drizzle of salted coconut sauce. In the west, we assume that we invented the sweet and salty thing when in fact, the Thais have been doing it for centuries!
You can find mango sticky rice everywhere in Bangkok, in fact, you can find it everywhere in Thailand! So, with it being so widely available, is there really a ‘best’ in Bangkok? Maybe not but I’m going to point you to a shop selling the best I’ve had in all my Thai travels – Mae Varee Mango Sticky Rice, Thong Lor.
Mae Varee Mango Sticky Rice has been churning out Mango sticky rice for two decades now, and the locals can’t get enough of their version of Thailand’s most famous dessert. The Mango sticky rice here isn’t the cheapest in town at 130 baht, but you do get a massive portion, more than enough to share between two people. You also get a something little different for your money here in that the rice comes in different colours. You can have the regular white sticky rice sold everywhere, but they also have green rice (made with pandan) and black rice (whole grain sticky rice).
>> Mae Varee is located on Sukhumvit 55, Thong Lor and is one of the first few shops as you come around the corner from Thong Lo BTS station.
Coconut Ice Cream
My personal favourite on the list, Thai coconut ice cream is another dessert that is found on every street in Thailand. It’s usually pushed around on little carts by street sellers and sold for a few baht in cones or plastic cups. If you want to take your coconut ice cream experience to the next level, though, then we’d suggest heading down to Chatuchak Weekend Market (JJ Market) to try a famous stall selling a delicious version of coconut ice cream.
Chatuchak Market is the biggest and busiest in Thailand and you’ll get extremely hot walking around so a stop for this refreshing treat makes for a welcome break from the madness of the crowded market. The ice cream at this particular stall is served in half a coconut husk complete with the flesh of the coconut and a choice of toppings such as sticky rice peanuts and coconut jelly. It’s creamy, refreshing and utterly delicious.
>> There are a few stalls selling ice cream at JJ Market but you’ll find this particular stall at the entrance to section 2 by Kamphaeng Phet MRT station.
Made from a mixture of coconut milk, sugar and rice flour then grilled in indented cast iron pans, these little grilled coconut balls are crispy on the outside and deliciously soft and creamy on the inside. Khanom Kroc can be a little confusing for foreign tourists due to the fact that they are usually (but not exclusively) topped with spring onion or sweet corn. Although both of these toppings would almost certainly be viewed as savoury in the western culinary world, in Thailand, khanom krok is undoubtedly one of the most eaten Thai sweets among hungry locals.
>> Our top pick for Khanom Krok is Sriyan Market, Nakhon Chaisi Rd.
Roti – Thai Pancakes
Often labelled as Thai pancakes, roti is actually a sweetened bread dough that is expertly flipped and stretched until razor thin and fried to crispy, crunchy perfection. Down on the popular southern Thai islands you can choose whatever filling you want but in Bangkok, it’s most common to have them stuffed with banana and drizzled with mounds of condensed milk. If you have a sweet tooth, Thai roti is definitely the dessert for you.
>> For a twist on the normal Thai pancake, check out Bang Rak Night Bazaar, directly outside the side entrance of Robinson’s Department Store, where you can try green roti flavoured with pandan leaves.
Thai Ice Cream Sticks
Another ice cream variation makes the list in the form of Thai ice cream sticks. These refreshing snacks are found in Thai markets and Thai events throughout Bangkok and are the perfect antidote for the sweltering Bangkok heat. Thai ice cream sticks come in an array of different flavours such as durian, coconut and jackfruit.
>> Thai ice cream sticks are found all across Bangkok but our favourite is at Khlong San Plaza, Charoen Nakhon Road.
Look choop or luk chup is an ancient royal Thai sweet that was once reserved only for members of the royal family. Thankfully, these days you can pick up look choop all across Bangkok. It’s made out of mung beans, coconut milk, sugar, agar agar, water and food coloring. The mung beans are blended with the sugar and coconut milk to make a paste then moulded into the shape of Thai fruits and painted to match the fruit they represent. As you would imagine kids love these bright, colourful candies.
>> For an authentic royal flavour of look choop head to Khao Pee Nong Thai dessert, Aor Tor Kor Market.