Thursday, April 23, 2009

My favourite Thai food: khanom jeen

Khanom jeen is without doubt my favorite Thai food. It tastes fantastic and although it’s traditionally a breakfast dish, it can be eaten for any meal. I sometimes have late-night khanom jeen from a place in Phuket Town.

Rather than regular rice or noodles, khanom jeen is eaten with a combination of both: rice-flour noodles, which look and taste more like spaghetti than anything. Eating khanom jeen can, at first, be a daunting experience because of the amount of choice in sauces and the sheer volume of condiments on offer.

You can spot a khanom jeen vendor because there will usually be a bunch of bowls prepared with plain noodles placed next to several large bowls of curry. The types of curry vary from one place to the next, but ingredients can include chicken, crab, fish and other types of meat. Coconut milk is usually used, which makes the sauces terrifically creamy.

The curries can be extremely spicy, but are well complimented with cucumber, beansprouts, long beans, shallots, pickled mustard greens, basil leaves and all sorts.

The best thing about khanom jeen is that it’s so damn cheap. One bowl usually costs less than 20 baht. Pick your curry, throw on some bits and pieces and enjoy. If there is one dish that I would give to someone who has never tried Thai food, it’s khanom jeen. If you’ve never had it, you’re missing out.

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