During my cooking class at May Kaidee’s Vegetarian Restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand, one of the other students asked Duan, May’s sister and the woman in charge of the shop, what the secret was to their pancakes.
“We use a mix,” she replied, “and coconut milk.”
“Ah, it must be the coconut milk,” my co-student answered.
I hadn’t tried the pancakes yet, so I added that to my list of must-try’s.
Two mornings later, I was in the mood.
The cake was crisp around the edges of one side, and where it had soaked in honey, it tasted almost like coconut custard, even though the texture was completely different.
The honey had a fragrance of jasmine (pikake in Hawaii) flowers, a surprisingly light yet complex addition to the dish. I asked and found out it was longan honey, from the blossoms of the longan tree. Fruits are like chocolate brown, ping-pong balls and have a texture and taste similar to lychee.
The slices of mango, juicy and slick, made the cake feel not so rich, yet still luxurious.
Unfortunately, a trio of Brits sat at the table next to me and began smoking, which totally destroyed the delicate flavors and aromas.
I moved to a table far away, but all I could smell was cigarettes, so I gulped the last three bites down and left. No faster way to ruin a meal than cigarettes. What a shame, since I had been enjoying myself completely.
Oh well. I’ll have to try to re-create the dish at home and see if I can make it with whole-grained flour and no eggs.