A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

Thompson’s next…

Posted date:  December 18, 2006


Had lunch at Muslim Restaurant with David Thompson today, the author of the austerely-titled but acclaimed, Thai Food. As I know quite a few readers own and love this book, I thought you might be interested to know that Mr Thompson is currently working hard on its successor, a tome on Thailand’s street food that figures to be every bit as authoriative (and thick) as Thai Food. At this point Thompson has assembled 250 recipes and is “2/3 of the way done”, but reckons the book probably won’t be on the market until Christmas 2007. Right now he’s struggling to finish the chapter on khanom jeen (9 pages, 1o-15 recipes!), and would appreciate help from anybody who can provide authoriative information as to the origin of this semi-fermented rice noodle!

3 Comments for Thompson’s next…

Chasing the origins of noodles is a special kind of madness, so here’s some completely non-authorative info that will probably just be a distraction rather than any help: in Khmer, khanom jeen is known as nom banchok and it’s completely ubiquitous in Cambodia. Banchok means “to feed (something small i.e. kids)” and in Khmer it refers to the process of feeding the noodle mix into the press.

As complete conjecture: Although I’d like to claim it as Cambodian, my bets are on khanom jeen coming to the Khmer empire when Suryavarman I (reigned 1002-1050) attacked the Mon people, and brought back their recipes/delicious noodle technology. Maybe the Khmer people then distributed it widely throughout their empire.

If I can find a carving of it at Angkor, maybe I could offer some certainty.

Wow Phil, I will be impressed if you look for a carving of nom banchok at Angkor. It would definitely be an appropriate dish to set in stone though!

I have no authoritative information on it. I remember reading about khanom jeen in the book Si Phen Din which goes back 150 years or so, but that’s just a fictional novel. 🙂

All I know is I love the stuff, Khmer version or Thai version, and it is #3 on my list of preferred breakfast.

Wow, am I helpful or what? 🙂

Lao people call it Khao Poon. Let me see if I can ask my friends in Bangkok if they know about this and its origins. My friends mother is here and she is like a walking cookbook and can tell you down to the ratios of ingredients of dishes. She’s awesome.

Jer gan mai khap.

Mike (1niceguymike@gmail.com)

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