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Posted at: May 20, 2018, 2:09 AM; last updated: May 20, 2018, 2:09 AM (IST)

Street treat in Thailand

Rayong is a haven for food lovers. There’s plenty to pick and savour — butter crepes, sticky rice patties, stink beans, satay, desserts

Khursheed Dinshaw

Time seems to have stood still at the Yomjinda Walking Street of Rayong in Thailand. This was the first street that was built in Rayong. Even today, it maintains its old-world charm and architecture that is seen in its shops and homes that have wooden ceilings and columns. Earthen pots, grandfather clocks and family portraits in wooden frames adorn these homes.

As the evening descends, the walking street transforms into a mix of aromas, flavours and textures. Entry to Yomjinda is through an imposing wooden gate that opens to tables lined on either side of the street on which the locals proudly sell their street food. It was a community initiative of preserving and promoting Thai cuisine and making the locals economically independent that led to Yomjinda turning into a walking street at night.

One can sample thin, crispy butter crepes made of flour and butter or local fruits of Thailand like durian, mangosteen, rambutan, longan and salak. Patties made of sticky rice and coated with egg yolk and then grilled traditionally on charcoal are also available. The locals prefer to eat these as a snack.

The quirky named stink beans, which in Thailand are known as sataw, are also available. Popular among Thai people, these beans are named so because after eating these, the mouth tends to smell and stink. These cluster beans can either be roasted or used for preparing curry. These are also boiled in water, sprinkled with salt and eaten with dips. 

Chicken barbeque, fish meatballs for those who do not eat pork or chicken meatballs and satay made of squids, clams and mussels are sold. For kids, plain satay is made while for adults who like spice, fiery sauce made from chillies is used for preparing the satay served on bamboo sticks.

For those who would like to taste more and eat less, mini-burgers, cupcakes, donuts and éclairs are sold for an extremely reasonable price of 1 TBH or Rs 2.12 a piece. Kao Tom Mud is a dessert where sticky rice, coconut milk, bananas, sugar and salt is steamed in a banana leaf. Cowlam is another sweet meat, which is cooked in the inside of a coconut shell with a filling of sticky rice, coconut milk and sugar. It is garnished with raisins and coconut pieces.

Dainty cupcakes with colourful frostings share table space with popcorn in caramel, choco butter and choco strawberry flavours. Visitors can also try their hand at making some of the street food. Spring rolls are relatively easy to prepare.

The rice flour batter and fillings — be it chopped mushrooms, vegetables, chicken or raw carrots and spring onion juliennes are already prepped. Visitors simply pour the batter on a heated pan, add the preferred fillings and tuck in the ends of the roll before serving. An innovative twist to coconut is given via a pull tab which is similar to the ones found in soft drink and beer cans. This enables one to conveniently drink coconut water anywhere without the hassle of cutting it. Locals sell jewellery, cacti, dolls, clothes and knick knacks. The Yomjinda Walking Street is also the venue for fancy dress competitions, song and dance performances and shadow puppetry. The Chinese Temple of the Goddess of Wealth and Mercy is located on Yomjinda. Here once the wishes of devotees are fulfilled, firecrackers are offered as gratitude. 

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