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Features 2 minutes 14 February 2019

9 Auspicious Thai Desserts

What makes a marriage last? Love, faith and understanding are important, but according to Thai custom, you’ll also need a bit of luck!

Thai dessert

As some couples prepare to tie the knot in this month of love, a question will arise in the minds of many – what do you give two people who, essentially, already have everything they need... Money? Alcohol? Gift vouchers? Sure, who’d say “no” to luxury holidays, but why not offer something more meaningful?

Before humanity became victims of commercialism, thoughts, prayers and words of wisdom were all we had to offer as congratulatory gifts. In the era of Siam (Thailand’s former name), a happy marriage wasn’t all about happily married couples passing on words of wisdom onto newlyweds on their wedding day, but also a lot to do with luck. With these nine auspicious Thai desserts (the word “gao” which means “nine” in Thai and also signifies prosperity), loved-up couples now have all they need for the journey of a lifetime.

Tong Yip
“Yip” means “to pick up” or “to take” in Thai, and to guarantee an easy ride, there’s nothing more newlyweds would want to “pick up” more than wealth, which is exactly what this dessert represents.

The Tong Yip remains one of the most popular Thai desserts today.
The Tong Yip remains one of the most popular Thai desserts today.

Tong Yod
Also made from egg yolks, these sweet, golden drops of delight represent drops of gold. It’s believed the recipient will always have enough gold and money to live on throughout their journey together.

Tong Yod for wealth and prosperity.
Tong Yod for wealth and prosperity.

Foy Tong
These golden strands of egg yolk are usually passed through a special sieve into a large bowl of boiling syrup before they are folded and boxed for the shops. When being gifted as presents for newlyweds, however, special care is given to these delicate threads to ensure that each strand is as long as possible to signify longevity and a long-lasting marriage.

Golden threads of foy tong.
Golden threads of foy tong.

Med Kanoon
“Med” means “stones” and “kanoon” means “jackfruit” in Thai, so together this dessert means the stones of a jackfruit. But funnily enough not a single element of the jackfruit is involved in the making of this auspicious dessert. Instead, the insides of these ovular sweets are made from finely-ground mung beans which are later covered with egg yolk. What’s special about them? The word “noon” means “support” in Thai, so “kanoon” which means jackfruit, symbolises support or a strong foundation needed in every marriage.

Med kanoon that symbolises strength and support.
Med kanoon that symbolises strength and support.

Tong Ek
The Beyoncé of Thai auspicious desserts, the Tong Eks come adorned with gold leaf that make them stand out from their golden counterparts. The leaves represent a high-flying career, promotions and successful business dealings.

Tong Ek adorned with gold leaf.
Tong Ek adorned with gold leaf.

Dara Tong or Tong Ek Krajang
Much more complicated to make compared to the rest of the desserts in this set, it’s no wonder why the Dara Tong (also known as Tong Ek Krajang) is so hard to find. This very photogenic dessert represents beauty, fame and a strong reputation.

Dara Tong - a rare Thai dessert hardly available in the markets.
Dara Tong - a rare Thai dessert hardly available in the markets.

Tuay Fu
Catch a waft of these pastel-coloured Thai muffins and you’ll forget to watch your waistline. “Fu” means “fluffy” which in this case, represents growth, development, or flourish – everything you’ll need to embark on your special journey together.

Kanom Tuay Fu or Thai muffins.
Kanom Tuay Fu or Thai muffins.

Kanom Chun
The number nine “gao” is considered a lucky number since “gao” also means to step forward. This is why the kanom chun (“chun” means “layers”) comes with nine layers when gifted to newlyweds.

Kanom Chun in pastel colours.
Kanom Chun in pastel colours.

Saneh Jan
Inspired by the Chantr tree which bears small yellow fruits, this dessert is made from egg yolk and flour with ground chantr fruit added to the mix. The first word of the dessert’s name, “saneh” means “charm” and represents the idea that the couple will be loved by family and friends and will love each other for all of eternity.

Saneh Chantr - the dessert that symbolises charm.
Saneh Chantr - the dessert that symbolises charm.

WHERE TO GO

Saneh Jaan (1 Michelin Star)
Named after one of the auspicious Thai desserts, this restaurant will not disappoint the self-confessed sweet-toothed diners. All nine auspicious desserts are available from the à la carte menu.

R-Haan (1 Michelin Star)
The menu here changes seasonally but the med kanoon Thai dessert can be enjoyed here, along with other “lucky” sweets such as the, dara tong nua gao, kanom ping and look choop mongkol.

Bo.lan (1 Michelin Star)
The tasting menu at this classic Thai restaurant ends on a denouement of sweets comprising tong yip, tong yod, and foy tong - all of which are made daily.

Chim by Siam Wisdom (1 Michelin Star)
Auspicious Thai desserts aren’t usually on the menu but customers wishing to try them out can place an order with the restaurant two days in advance and their wish will be granted.

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