15 Most Popular Thai Desserts
There is no doubt that the land of smiles has a sweet tooth. Traditional Thai food often comes with a plethora of side condiments, including sugar, chili, nuts and salt. So you will not be surprised to hear there is a long list of famous Thai desserts to choose from.
Most desserts include coconut and all of them contain sugar! There is no shortage of fresh fruit and rice either.
Desserts are usually decorative and colorful, although presentation varies from area to area. There are, of course, some Chinese influences found in Thai food, as is the case in most of South East Asia, but there is no denying that Thailand has ownership of the following list of desserts.
Take a look at the most popular Thai desserts below and see which ones you would like to try on your next trip!
Sweet Sticky Rice Desserts
Sticky rice is a white large grain rice that becomes translucent, glossy, and extremely sticky when steamed. Also called sweet rice or glutinous rice, sticky rice can be savory. However, it is ALWAYS sweetened with sugar in Thai desserts.
Here are a few popular sticky rice desserts you will definitely come across in Thailand.
1. Mango Sticky Rice
Imagine a tropical rice pudding with a coconut flavor and you will have some idea of what this famous Thai dessert tastes like. Soft yellow mango compliments a sweet bed of chewy coconut sticky rice.
The two flavors and textures balance each other perfectly. This classic is served in most Thai restaurants and by street vendors.
2. Durian Sticky Rice
Durian is a pungent smelling fruit well-loved all over Southeast Asia. Some of you may be put off by signs around Thailand and other Asian countries banning durian fruit from elevators, public transport, and the like.
The durian’s potent aroma can stay around for a while in enclosed spaces. The smell of the fruit does not, however, reflect its flavor at all.
Durian has a unique combination of sweet, savory and creamy flavors. Some describe it as diced garlic whipped into caramel. Add sweet coconut sticky rice, and you have yourself a taste sensation like no other.
If you are in Thailand, you must try this miraculous dish!
3. Bamboo Sticky Rice
This sweet sticky rice dessert is prepared and cooked inside a bamboo stalk.
The dish is cooked in coconut milk using red or white sticky rice and is sometimes mixed with red beans. It makes for a fun eating experience and some great holiday photos too!
4. Khao Tom Mud: Thai Sticky Rice Cake
Another way to eat sweet sticky rice is in the form of a small coconut-banana flavored cake wrapped in banana leaves. This is also a popular dish in Laos and other bordering countries and towns. This is a really convenient snack, sold at street stalls, for eating when on the run!
Cold & Sweet
Thailand is such a hot country. The northern regions experience colder temperatures, but all areas have a hot season that can be stifling. Cold snacks and drinks are the perfect way for street vendors to make their living.
5. I Tim Kati: Thai Coconut Ice Cream
Thai ice cream is a dessert traditionally made out of coconut milk. It has a soft texture and is a blend of creamy and icy.
It’s usually served in a coconut shell and is a cheap street food that is easy to find anywhere in Thailand. School children can be seen eating I Tim Kati after school, buying it from street vendors parked at the school gates when the bell rings.
6. Thai Popsicles
Thai popsicles are unique because they are made in a handmade metal pot with 40-80 metal tubes. Street vendors fill these pots with ice and rock salt, freezing different popsicle mixes within 20 minutes on-site in the stifling Thai heat.
A range of flavors is poured into the tubes, such as pineapple juice, coca-cola, sprite, lemonade and grape juice.
Thailand has a relatively large variety of pancakes, both sweet and savory. We have added the most popular sweet pancakes in Thai society to our list. Check them out!
7. Khanom Buang: Thai Crispy Pancake
The history of Thailand’s khanom buang, or Thai crispy pancake, dates back as far as 600 years ago.
This traditional sweet street food requires meticulous preparation on the cook’s behalf. The crispy crepe is made of rice flour and serves as a mouth-watering vessel for decadent meringue topped with candied duck egg yolk.
It is said the best khanom buang chefs are the elderly whose ancient recipe has been passed on from generation to generation.
8. Thai Roti Pancake
Roti is a wheat flour pan-fried bread with Muslim origins. In Thailand, roti bread is comparable to India’s flat bread maida paratha and Malaysia’s roti canai.
Cooked on the spot using a hot plate, street vendors put on a show when they twist and turn the dough, throw it onto the hotplate, and cut it up into small square pieces with a butcher’s clever.
The final touch is always a wooden skewer, which is thrown like a spear to land in the middle of the pancake. The most popular toppings include sweetened condensed milk, white sugar, and banana or even chocolate.
9. Tuang Muan Sot: Sweet Sesame Rolled Pancake
This pancake is also known as a Thai fresh rolled wafer. It incorporates the blend of sweetness from coconut sugar, the saltiness and mild scent from coconut milk, the soft texture of yummy coconut meat, and a little bit of crispness from roasted black sesame.
Dumplings & Cake
Sweet Thai dumplings and cakes come in many different forms and are sold in restaurants and street carts. You can even get some of these at Seven Eleven, although they are not as good as homemade. We have selected the five most popular.
10. Bua Loy Nam King: Black Sesame Dumplings in Ginger Soup
This Chinese inspired dessert is made with little rice flour dumplings filled with black sesame butter and swimming in an invigorating ginger soup.
The soup is robust and soothing on the throat, and the dumplings erupt with a nutty sesame sensation in your mouth.
11. Tong Yod: Sweet Egg Yolk Drop
This is made from egg yolk and a rice and wheat flour mixture. The golden yellow batter is then cooked in a bubbling flower syrup. The drop shape of this sweet dumpling is formed by dropping the thick mixture from the tip of a finger into the hot syrup. Delicious!
12. Khanom Mo Kaeng: Mung Bean Custard Cake
This traditional Thai dessert is like a cross between custard, a flan, and a cake. It is very sweet and soft, and is so good you could easily eat numerous portions in one sitting.
Made with mung beans, coconut milk, palm sugar, and egg yolk, they aren’t that bad for you!
13. Khanom Tum: Sweet Coconut Rice Dumplings
These delectable dumplings are made with boiled rice flour and stuffed with shredded coconut that is melted with palm sugar and coconut milk. This coconut mixture is infused with a flower fragrance using scented candles, and pandan leaves or butterfly pea extract are often added to the dough for colour, fragrance, and flavour.
The final touch is to roll the dumplings in shredded coconut, so they look and taste like a pretty ball of coconutty goodness.
14. Khanom Chan: Steamed Coconut-Pandan Cake
This is probably the most unique cake you can try in Thailand. It is a little bit like coconut jelly, but a little heavier and stickier.
A lot of work goes into cooking the delicate layers of this cake. It should also be noted that homemade pandan extract is preferable to any fake extract that can be purchased in stores. It is made with a steamed batter of coconut milk with sticky rice flour and tapioca and arrowroot starches infused with pandan.
A Simple Thai Classic
Our last dish on the list may not appear as exciting as the other desserts but deserves some recognition. Many visitors to Thailand will question how this combination of flavors can be considered a dessert, but we promise you it is!
15. Mamuang Nam Pla Wan: Green Mango with Sweet Chili Spices
A combination of unripe green mangoes and a sticky dipping sauce made with palm sugar, fermented fish sauce, shrimp paste, MSG, chili powder, toasted rice powder, sliced shallots, dried shrimps, and chilies.
You can buy this dish from street vendors, who provide crushed peanuts along with the dipping sauce. Dip the green mango into the sauce and then into your peanuts and take a bite. It is a taste sensation quite unlike anything else. The combination of sweet, sour, and salty flavors will have you asking for more!
Related: 25 Most Popular Thai Foods