A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

Khai katha

Posted date:  June 8, 2008

Khai katha, an egg dish of apparent Vietnamese origin, Nong Khai, Thailand

Khai katha, literally ‘pan eggs’, is a dish I came across in virtually every Thai town that bordered the Mekong River. It’s apparently a Vietnamese take on fried eggs for breakfast, although I don’t recall having seen it there.  The eggs, fried up in a tiny aluminum pan (the katha), are supplemented with thin slices of kun chiang (Chinese sausage), muu yor (Vietnamese sausage), sliced green onions, and unusually for Thailand, ground black pepper. The dish is also accompanied by bread, which at the better places, takes the form of a freshly-toasted French-style baguette (although it must be said that the Thai ones are nowhere near as good as their Vietnamese and Cambodian counterparts).

The khai katha above is from Nong Khai, where after meeting it for the first time by the city’s morning market, noticed the dish just about everywhere on the drive back to my hotel. Khai katha is big in Nong Khai. The bread shown in the background is a half-arsed Thai attempt at bánh mì, a Vietnamese-style sandwich, but included a few thin slices of the previously-mentioned sausages and little more.

Another version in the town of That Phnom, in Nakhorn Phnom province, was more like an omelet:

Khai katha, an egg dish of apparent Vietnamese origin, Nakhorn Phnom, Thailand

Rather than the muu yor they used cheap hotdogs and ground pork, and in place of the French-style bread, toasted white bread. It was a low point in my khai katha experience.

Undeterred, I bought two katha in Mukdahan, and since returning home have been making the dish for breakfast nearly every day, using tasty free-range eggs, muu yor from Ubon Ratchathani and decent French bread from La Boulange, and have refrained from cooking the hell out of the eggs.

4 Comments for Khai katha

Very common in Saigon at least – we had a vendor right in front of our house (no need to make our own breakfasts) and many more scattered around the city. The pepper is a very Vietnamese touch. Also ran across many versions in Hanoi, more omelet-like with so many herbs, chopped, that the eggs were green. The latter eaten with a dip of kalamansi juice, salt, and black pepper.

What are they called in Vietnam? Would like to look the Hanoi version up.

khai katha, is my favorite breakfast in thailand, although in nearby Udon Thani It was usually prepared for me looking a bit in between the two photos you took, and had chilli hot sauce drizzled across it.


In Ubol Ratchathani opposite the municipal park in a corner breakfast coffee joint they serve absoluetly delicious Kai Kata.
My first KK introduction. I had two servings. Next time I’ll have three.

Another sunny-side up variant, favorite of mine is Eggs Benedict, da cholesterol bomb (once in a blue moon) with
Bloody Mary ( Finlandia or Stoli), of course. And Champagne, too. Soundtrack: Putting the Ritz.

John K Lindgren

Bored to tears with the ubiquitous ABF and many of the Int’l
Buffet Breakfasts.

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