Gallery: Exploring Thai Sweets at Bhan Kanom in Los Angeles

Sweet Taco (Crispy Pancake)
Sweet Taco (Crispy Pancake)

To make these popular crisp taco-shaped pancakes, Penny, one of Bhan Kanom's many pastry chefs, first ladles out a perfect thin circle of batter, on to which she brushes a smaller ring of egg white meringue.

Add sweet yolk
Add sweet yolk

The crispy pancakes come in two varieties: sweet and savory. The savory version is topped with coconut and shrimp. For the sweet version, Penny adds a layer of foi thong, sweet golden strands of egg custard.

Making crispy pancakes
Making crispy pancakes

Penny lifts the pancakes as they cook, helping them take their folded brittle shape.

Sweet Taco (Crispy Pancake)
Sweet Taco (Crispy Pancake)

The sweet tacos are sold in packages of eight.

Mud Ba
Mud Ba

As you open the dry brittle banana leaf that surrounds this steamed sticky rice and banana, it gives off an intensely herbal aroma.

Tiger Biscuits
Tiger Biscuits

Bhan Kanom has an office in Thailand through which it imports dry goods like these cracker-like Tiger Biscuits.

Pandan Custard
Pandan Custard

The night shift makes the cold custards like this olive green pandan pudding, which has a subtly sweet, earthy flavor and can be eaten hot or cold.

Thong Yip
Thong Yip

Amatra Indra makes thong yip or pinched gold (foreground) by pouring a mixture of egg yolk and sugar into tiny ramekins, which he then drops into large vats of bubbling sugar and oil.

Foi Thong
Foi Thong

To make foi thong, Indra first pokes tiny holes into the bottom of a paper cup and then pours his mixture of egg yolk and sugar through the cup into hot, sweet syrup--kind of like making Play-doh spaghetti. The resulting tangle of long thin strands are moist, very sweet, and heavier than you might imagine.

Refrigerator case
Refrigerator case

Full of cups of jellies and juices, including Ruammit (bottom), a mix of corn, tapioca, and fruits in sweet coconut milk.

Buttered Toast
Buttered Toast

Pretty self-explanatory, soft white bread is spread thick with sweet yellow butter and then toasted until crouton-crisp.

Making Kanom Krok
Making Kanom Krok

At Bhan Kanom, they make kanom krok in the afternoon in the shop's back kitchen. A mixture of coconut milk, sugar, salt, and flour is poured into a sizzling hot pan, specially outfitted with small bowls to give the coconut pudding its signature shape.

Kanom Krok
Kanom Krok

After grilling, one disc is laid on the other to make orbs of delicate sweet pudding, with a slightly salty crisp exterior. In Thailand, Indra says that kanom krok is available filled with corn or taro, but at Bhan Kanom they only offer it plain.

Pang Chi
Pang Chi

Bhan Kanom cooks up Pang chi throughout the day. The stout mini pancakes are made of taro, coconut, and corn and are grilled twenty minutes per side.

Chinese Doughnut
Chinese Doughnut

The same chef responsible for kanom krok and the cooked dishes like black sweet rice also makes these Chinese crullers.

Green Tapioca
Green Tapioca

The dazzling green tapioca, which looks a bit like roe, is imported from Thailand.

Green Tapioca
Green Tapioca

Studded with sweet yellow corn and drizzled with coconut milk. The Bhan Kanom folks recommend microwaving for about 20 seconds. The resulting treat is a textural masterpiece of smooth, springy tapioca pearls, creamy coconut, and the buoyant pop of corn. It's sweet, slightly salty, and delicious.

Steamed Sticky Rice and Taro
Steamed Sticky Rice and Taro

The taro flavor here is faint and delicate, and its grainy texture doesn't offer much contrast to the chewy, sweet rice.

Shaved Ice Toppings
Shaved Ice Toppings

Red mung bean, green jelly, and other toppings for Nam Khang Sai, Thai shaved ice.

Dok Jok (Crispy Flower)
Dok Jok (Crispy Flower)

Bhan Kanom's night crew makes Dok Jok by pouring a batter of flour, sesame, and sugar into a special aluminum mold, which is then fried to a crisp. The resulting treat looks like a honey comb, smells like a fairground, and has a crackling, faintly sweet taste.

Sweet Black Rice with Taro
Sweet Black Rice with Taro

It looks a little like black beans and sour cream, but the black rice, dotted with morsels of earthy taro, is a sweet and nutty rice pudding.

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20110618-157243-BhanmakingcrispyPrimary.jpg