Sunday, February 27, 2011

43 Thailand #5: Mieng Kham

 Mieng Kham kits for sale in the Warorot market in Chiang Mai
10 baht (approx 30 cents) each
Getting back to my 43 stories from Thailand and Malaysia...

I first encountered this vibrant little snack at a temple market on my first trip to Thailand over eight years ago. Mieng means "many" and kham means "one bite."  It's a little betel leaf packet containing bits of dried shrimp, fresh lime, roasted peanuts, a teeny cube of ginger, toasted coconut, and shallot, with a spicy tangy sauce. Sweet, salty, sour, savory, crunchy - all the elements combine to create something bright and vibrant, greater than the sum of its parts, and really refreshing. It was a bit hard for me to find places to get it once I got back to the U.S., so I'd only had it once (at my dad's friend's restaurant) and it was on my must-eats list on my December trip.

While browsing Chiang Mai's Warorot market with my friend A., I found a stall selling mieng kham kits. We bought a few of these packets to take to A.'s aunt's house, where we sat next to her fish pond (getting bit by not a few mosquitoes in the process) and drank bright blue butterfly pea tea. The taste was just as I remembered, and M. really enjoyed them, too. If you're curious and want to try making them at home, here's a recipe.

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