You may have heard rumours about Thai eating habits – that we can eat five meals a day or we can eat for the whole day. It’s true! It’s a fact of life that fun and happiness can be found in food. There are as many choices of snacks as there are choices of food for meals on the Bangkok streetsides.
One of the varieties that you can find any time of the day and pretty much anywhere in the city is kouy chai. Its name comes from a Chinese dialect but its taste is appreciated and consumed by the whole country.
It’s like Thai dim sum – they come in similar forms to their Chinese cousins but bite-sized and with different stuffings. Kouy chai itself is the name of the green vegetable that is stuffed inside a semi-clear flour ball, but there are many varieties of stuffing offering different tastes. The flour must be soft and thin to emphasise the stuffing more than the taste of the flour. This requires a masters’ hands and understanding.
One shop of such masters is Kouy Chai Jey Toy, situated in the most cultural area of Bangkok, between the Giant Swing and the Shrine of the Tiger God (Jao Por Sue). This short strip of road is rich with legends of deliciousness. They make pretty much every part of kouy chai from scratch, including mixing their own flour wrappings and all six types of stuffing.
There’s taro and young bamboo shoots, which you will see being boiled fresh in the pot on the streetside, local turnip, cauliflower with Chinese mushroom and heart of coconut when in season.
The dipping sauce is also very important – to eat like a local you must dip the kouy chai in a dark sauce that has the sour taste of vinegar and if you are more adventurous, add a pinch of chilli.
Kouy Chai Jey Toy
The shop is at 122 Mahannop Rd and is open 7am- 3pm every day. Check out Wat Suthat, behind the Giant Swing, and then swing by this place for a snack.