Every time you enjoy ‘Kanom Buang,’ you’re not only treating yourself to a delicious snack, but you’re taking a bite of history.
With roots dating back to the Buddha era, a version of kanom buang is believed to be an Ancient Thai snack that has evolved throughout the history of Thailand. After nearly being lost in the smorgasbord of Thai cuisine, it was rediscovered during the Ayutthaya period of Thailand from 1350 – 1769, and has since become an integral addition to the modern Thai repertoire of snacks.
The irony of this meringue filled pancake is that it was not revitalized by a native Thai, but rather a Japanese female married to a Thai diplomat by the name of Lady Witchayen. Living in Ayutthaya at the time, it was her passion and enthusiasm that nurtured a renewal of interest and a rebirth of kanom buang into the modern treat it is today.
Kanom buang is a living legend, proof of the multifaceted flavors of Thai cuisine that have been shaped by so many surrounding cultures and influences. Through trade, religion, and war, Thailand has merged ideas and culinary methods to foster a marvelous array of food that’s layered with historical significance.
Not only is kanom buang deeply ingrained in Thai gastronomy, it also plays an essential role in traditional culture. Within the realm of Thai folk law tradition, there were four items a Thai woman should be able to craft in order to gain prestige and increase her dowry value.
Betel nut rolling came first, a skill that requires neatness and precision. Peeling the skin off a Marion Plum was another valued talent as the soft flesh of the fruit must be steadily controlled. Delicate and time consuming to prepare, Royal Thai Dumpling known as ‘Kanom Jeeb,’ was the third challenge.
Finally the ability to create the perfect kanom buang was the last test. Armed with a wooden spatula, known as a kraja, and a cast iron hot plate, each ladle of batter must be evenly spread using rhythmic circular motions until forming an exact thickness. Each elegant snack takes an acutely controlled hand and an intensely focused mind.
As you lift that thin wafer stuffed with creamy meringue and fresh coconut into your mouth, remember the history that has gone into the production of each and every bite.