Khao yam – the before and after


The beautiful before image


The tasty mess afterwards

Here we have two images of khao yam. This is a popular Southern Thai dish run in to surprisingly infrequently in Bangkok. On the chance that I do find it it is usually premade, but in this case everything was in its own separate packet waiting to get mixed.

Khao yam [ข้าวยำ] appropriately translates as rice salad. And although the ingredients may be a bit odd for Western tastes, I can certainly see why it would be called a salad. Basically the dish is a mixture of rice (in this case a couple different colored kinds) with some herbs, vegetables, and seasonings. I think the specific vegetables used varies with the location of the dish’s preparation, but some of the more standard items are toasted coconut, green mango strips, budu (a type of fish sauce), lime, red chili flakes, sliced long beans, and lemongrass.   There was also some pomelo and bean sprouts in this version.  I believe sometimes ground sesame is included as well.

Once you get all the ingredients open you can mix everything up and start eating. To be honest I don’t really enjoy the earthy, herbal taste of this dish as some of the tastes can be too contrasting for me. It is quite an interesting dish and I continue to try it regularly because of this. I look at the intriguing mixture of stuff and somewhat forget what I thought about it last time so I decide to give it another try. Well, it’s certainly better than some of the other items you can see on this blog!

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