A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

Saraburi Style

Posted date:  June 19, 2006

Was on my way to somewhere else and stopped by the tiny town/province of Saraburi, about 100 km north of Bangkok. Saraburi is mostly known for its dairy industry, and is the first place Thai people started milking cows, about 40 years ago. Other than that, it’s not known for much, but I came across a couple cool food surprises nonetheless.

My first discovery was a Thai snack called karee phap. This is, believe it or not, the Thai pronunciation of the English word “curry puff”, and refers to small deep-fried turnovers. These bad boys are sold in the thousands along the main street of Saraburi, mostly sold at roadside stalls like this:


Many of the vendors were Muslim, which is not surprising when one considers how much they resemble samosa. The curry puffs are filled with a variety of fillings, ranging from savory, such as chicken or pork, to sweet, such as pineapple or chocolate:


They are all made by hand:


and deep-fried until crispy. Here’s a close up of my pork and shitake mushroom curry puff:


Not too shabby, and I like the “layered” effect of the dough. Bought four (two pork and shitake and two “original chicken”), which at a paltry 5 baht each, almost made me feel guilty. Interestingly enough, the word karee is also Thai slang for prostitute. Would be curious to find out the origins of that.

Another fun discovery in Saraburi was the roadside stalls selling local agricultural products:


These can be found in rural areas all over the country, and vary depending on where you are. In northern Thailand you can find things like freshly-picked wild mushrooms or wild honey. In Saraburi the emphasis was on bamboo and pumpkins:



In the top photo the small bamboo was grilled, something I’d never seen before. Unfortunately I’m not currently in need of giant pumpkin or a bamboo root, and only took photos.

My final discovery came while looking for lunch on the hardscrabble streets of Saraburi. Other than karee phap, the food situ in Saraburi is pretty grim, and I it took me a long time to find something that wasn’t wrapped and deep-fried. Eventually I came across a shop selling beef noodle soup. This is not something I would normally choose, as beef in Thailand is invariably chewy, usually consisting of fat and joints rather than meat, and the broth that accompanies this soup is usually way too sweet. However, this place served beef that was par-boiled to perfection, and accompanied by “homemade” beef balls that were tender and delicious:


Throw in a few more veggies and you got yerself a damn good bowl of noodles.

3 Comments for Saraburi Style

I heartily enjoy your photography and posts. I’ve been wondering about the origins of the tasty(chicken) curry puff….an, at times, odd, seeming, afterthought to some mid-range pan-Thai restaurants in Chicago. On these plebian menus it’s typically one of the better choices. Beyond the typical Thai fare, Chicago is becoming known(over the last decade or so) for “authentic” Thai cuisine, disregarding the “4-star” well-known Arun’s, which has fallen from favor. I’m an afficianado of David Thompson’s tome as well as our local hole-in-the-walls and also derive much pleasure from your blog. Thank you.

Thanks for showing us so many interesting things and sharing your experiences! I loved your posts very much…

anonymous: I’m planning on doing a piece about curry puffs for ThaiDay, which I would certainly post here, so stay tuned. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to the bottom of it!

rosa: Thanks! I’m trying to post on a more regular basis now.

Wanna say something?