Khun Manee

Khao taen, rice cakes drizzled with palm sugar, Khun Manee, Lampang, Thailand Khun Manee is a respected maker of khao taen (pictured above), rice cakes that are deep-fried and drizzled with palm sugar, in Lampang, a city in northern Thailand that is known for the sweet.

To make khao taen, sticky rice (both the white and 'black' varieties) is steamed then mixed with watermelon juice. This gives the rice a slightly pink colour and sweet flavour. The still soft rice is then pressed into rings:

Pressing sticky rice into molds to be made into khao taen, rice cakes topped with palm sugar, Khun Manee, Lampang, Thailand

and the cakes are then left in the sun to dry, which I was told usually takes a couple days, depending on the weather:

Drying sticky rice to be made into khao taen, rice cakes topped with palm sugar, Khun Manee, Lampang, Thailand

When sufficiently dry, the cakes are deep-fried. Khun Manee does this herself:

Deep-frying sticky rice cakes to be made into khao taen, rice cakes topped with palm sugar, Khun Manee, Lampang, Thailand

The cakes puff up amazingly fast, and a batch is done in less than 15 seconds.

The rice cakes are allowed to cool, then they are drizzled with a mixture of warm palm sugar, sesame seeds and a tiny bit of salt:

Drizzling khao taen, deep-fried sticky rice cakes, with palm sugar, Khun Manee, Lampang, Thailand

Khao taen were probably the first Thai sweets I ever tried (I was a student in Chiang Mai where they're also popular), and are still among my favourite, although I usually prefer the kind topped with sugarcane sugar. Nonetheless, I still downed a (rather large) bag of Khun Manee's in 1 1/2 sittings.

Khun Manee (Google Maps link) 35 Th Ratsada, Lampang (054) 312 272