I’m always on the lookout for something local whenever I go to places. That’s why, after a villa shoot in Kamala, in Phuket, Thailand where I spent a month, I stumbled into a local eatery owned by a Muslim. Southern Thailand has a sizable muslim community, owing to its proximity to the northern border with Peninsular Malaysia and it is also one of the reasons why south Thai food is rich and diverse because of the many influences across the centuries.
Now this eatery is nothing big, a medium sized table at the center of the covered open area. There were just a few trays with local biscuits in plastic and others. But it was the small triangular leaf wrappings that caught my eye.
Curious, I got one, asked the woman what it is and what it contains. Unfortunately, she can’t speak English and I just smiled, ordered three and started opening the packets.
It was beautifully wrapped. Limp leaves that were steamed, formed into triangular packets and secured with a thin short stick, probably from a coconut frond. Inside, a white creamy substance made from ground sticky rice flour that encases a dark material. Although it looks familiar to what we have in the Philippines, masi, the more I got curious as to its taste.
I took a bite, soft, slightly sticky. The white part is salty that then contrasts with the sweetness of the sugared grated coconut meat. It was delicious. Contrasting tastes that I have become familiar with Thai desserts that always have a hint of saltiness compared here in the Philippines wherein the white part usually is either sweetened or bland. I ordered milked coffee to pair, got two more and quietly consumed.
After a few minutes, another muslim woman arrived and she’s the one who knows a little English so I asked her a few questions. She told me its called sod sai, which was my lead as I wrote it as sot sai and after searching the internet, got the correct name as khanom sod sia. The leaves, unlike in other areas selling this delicacy that uses banana leaves, these are different and were gathered from the mountain, as the lady said.
It’s a delicious and cheap snack.