On big nights out with my friends, those nights we don’t want to end because the conversation and sensation of being outdoors is so fantastic, we often like to round things off at a street corner on Yaowarat Road, or Chinatown.
Over the years I have tasted pretty much everything on both sides of this busy, neon-bathed thoroughfare – the old, the new, the savoury and the sweet – but somehow I always end up returning to this particular spot.
Yes, I’m talking about desserts, but not the sugar-sweet variety that makes your teeth ache and pushes your blood sugar levels into overdrive. Bua loy nam khing, as the dish in question is called, means ‘floating lotuses in ginger soup’. The rather poetic name comes from the bua’s appearance, namely its white porcelain color and lotuslike shape, but in fact, these bulbous dumplings are made from sticky rice flour (similar to some Japanese sweets) stuffed with sweet sesame seed paste.
Steeped in hot, ginger-spicy soup, the taste of this popular Chinese dish is unexpected for newbies. By the end of the bowl, though, most are agreed that the cleansing, sweet, hot soup blends together oh-so-elegantly with the dumpling’s gooey textures. As well as tasting good, it’s also the perfect bite to end the night, because the ginger soup aids digestion.
Here’s a secret bua loy eating tip that I like to call ‘bite and kiss’… After you’ve bitten in to one of the glutinous orbs, the sesame seed paste tends to rush out like lava. To stop it from spilling off the spoon or clouding the soup, you must kiss it back to seal the sticky-rice flour casing closed again.
Besides bua loy nam khing, there are also iced desserts called tao teung for sale. Basically, you point at the assorted Chinese goodies – red beans, lotus roots, lotus seeds, ginkgo seeds, barley, white mushrooms and more –which are then served in longan (a lychee like fruit) syrup and crushed ice. Chinese wisdom has it that aside from being healthy, these also balance the body’s temperature, do wonders for your internal ying and yang.
Bua Loy Luk Khing is located at the corner of Yaowarat Road and Soi Yaowapanich, right next to the UOB Bank building. Follow Yaowarat’s one-way traffic and you should spot the giant UOB sign on the left-hand side. Open 6pm-midnight everyday except last Monday of the month. 087-832-4704