It's that time of year again: Thailand's annual Vegetarian Festival is in full swing, and as always, the best place to eat is the Chinatown area. Most people come for the various meat-free noodle and fried dishes, but I personally can't wait for khanom tup tap. This is an old-school snack made from peanuts, sugar and a bit of salt pounded into a flaky roll--via a pretty amazing process.
It all begins by cooking roasted peanuts in boiling syrup:
The resulting mixture, which resembles still-warm peanut brittle, is cooled then thoroughly blended by two men working wooden mallets. During the pounding, the peanut mixture is repeatedly folded onto itself, giving the dish the phyllo-like layers you can see in the first pic. The sound (tup tap, tup tap) made by the pounding is the origin of the snack's name:
The paste is then stretched out into a long thin sheet and is filled with even more ground peanuts, with the sheet serving as a wrapper of sorts. The whole lot melts together and the long tubes are cut into bite-sized pieces:
The result is simultaneously savoury, sweet and crispy, and is remarkably similar in taste and texture to the the American candy bar, Butterfinger. As Phil Lees can confirm, khanom tup tap are also incredibly addictive. Get your tup tap on from now until October 9th, at the shrine described below.
Available during Bangkok's annual Vegetarian Festival, late September/early October, at the Jo Sue Kong Shrine, Talat Noi (see map below).