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Pa Ni

Posted date:  September 1, 2009

Serving Shan/Thai Yai sweets, Mae Hong Son

As mentioned previously, Mae Hong Son was pretty wet, so we spent a lot of our time indoors, much of it eating and drinking. Of all the things we consumed there, I’m pretty sure that the local sweets were the biggest hit among the two chefs. We bought several banana leaf packages of the sweets on a daily basis, and they never seemed to tire of them.

Our sole khanom purveyor was Pa Ni, a native of Mae Hong Son who was taught by her mother to make Shan/Thai Yai-style sweets over forty years ago. My personal fave of her repertoire is something called peng mong:

Peng mong, a Shan/Thai Yai sweet, Mae Hong Son

According to Pa Ni, this one is made using what she calls paeng mi, “noodle flour” (I suspect this simply wheat flour), and has the consistency of a Western-style cake, with a salty/sweet coconut topping acting as the frosting. Because of the crumb-like consistency of the sweet, Chef Andy reckons some sort of leavening agent is used here, a rarity in Thai sweets.

My second favourite has to be alawa jun:

Alawa jun, a Shan/Thai Yai sweet, Mae Hong Son

a significantly heavier sweet made from rice flour, ample coconut cream and a slight hint of durian (Pa Ni adds thurian kuan, durian paste, to this sweet). Like all of Pa Ni’s sweets, the top is slightly singed, the result of a “baking” process where, after steaming the sweets, she covers the trays and tops this with a layer of hot coals.

The regular alawa:

Alawa, a Shan/Thai Yai sweet, Mae Hong Son

is slightly lighter and gets most of its flavour from sugar and coconut milk.

And Suay thamin:

Suay thamin, a Shan/Thai Yai sweet as made by Pa Ni, Mae Hong Son

is the Shan pronunciation of the Burmese shwe thamin, “golden rice”, and is rather heavy sweet made from sticky rice.

For an earlier post on Thai Yai sweets, go here.

Pa Ni
9 Thanon Singhanat Bamrung, Mae Hong Son

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4 Comments for Pa Ni

What’s up Austin,
One of the things I miss most about your blog, as it seems to have changed gradually over the past few years, is your recipe investigations. Alawa is a recipe I would LOVE to see (as well as another version; I can’t remember what it’s called. Alawa is I think the one using naam oy, and the other uses naam taan, but is essentially the same sweet with a different name).
It would be awesome and most appreciated if you could uncover the secrets of these Lanna sweets.

[…] is cool and the leaves have changed colour, but foodwise, things aren’t quite the same this year. Pa Ni had eye surgery so her husband has been in charge of making the sweets. As a result, the suay thamin […]

[…] while back, I blogged about the sweets available from Pa Ni, a vendor here in Mae Hong Son city. Suay thamin, alawaa, alwaa jung and peng […]

[…] can be got at Paa Nii. […]

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