Leum Kleun - Gastro Obscura


Leum Kleun

A treat so smooth, its name means “I forgot I swallowed.”

Thai sweets, called khanom, are often characterized by their interesting shapes and vibrant colors. They’re all made from three principal ingredients—flour, sugar, and coconut—but hundreds of variations exist. Leum kleun is a unique khanom that’s so silky smooth, its name translates to “I forgot I swallowed.”

Thai people fashion this melt-in-your mouth morsel in two parts: The base is made up of a custardy layer of cooked mung bean flour, sugar, and a stunning food dye, such as butterfly pea flower. The top is a salted, fluffy coconut cream. Confectioners infuse the velvety snack with pandan leaf extract, then smoke it with a special incense used only for khanom. This adds a floral jasmine aroma and smoky undertones to the otherwise simple flavor profile.

Vendors serve the finished product in little cups, sometimes topped with toasted sesame or fried peas, but nothing big enough to warrant chewing. Just pop it in your mouth and the whole thing melts instantly, hence the name.

Need to Know

Recipes for leum kleun are available online. Look out for the snack alongside other brightly colored confections sold in Thai markets. In honor of Queen Sirikit’s birthday and Mother’s Day, Thai Airways serves it on flights, but don't expect to see it on their regular menu.

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