Listen: I have long ranted and raved about how it's damn near impossible to recreate the cuisine you find in one country, thousands of miles away in another. After pretending that Thai food didn't exist for a the last couple months, I broke down a couple of times, and got just about what I expected: A jumbled approximation. This is owing to a myriad of reasons some of which might include: availability of ingredients, customers unfamiliarity with the cuisine, and or catering to the American palate. Sometimes you can find something resembling a dish from a far away land, but once you've had the "real" thing, it's hard to be satisfied with its distant cousin.
Taking a walk through Berkeley the other morning, we were curious why there were so many rather hip looking white people milling about on the grass in front of the Tool Lending Library. Near the sidewalk there were parking signs, some of which were in Thai. It dawned on us that nearby was the much talked about Thai temple where there is a Sunday brunch. Friends and acquaintances have heartily recommended it.
We walked into the compound to see Thai dancing, people wearing their unmistakable yellow shirts, and most importantly, food. We saw some familiar dishes, most of which we were in no mood for as we had recently eaten. But one item caught our eye. It was the lovely lovely Kanom Krok. You can see it here or here.
A hard working troupe of Thai ladies were cooking up these little treats as fast as they could, but the line kept getting longer. They cooked. We waited.
The result? The worst Kanom Khrok we have ever sampled. Don't get upset! Remember what I said at the beginning of this post about the difficulties in recreating one cuisine so far from it's place of origin? The coconut milk used was obviously canned, not fresh. They were merely sweet, not a little savory. It simply lacked the subtle flavors, the balance that make this snack a personal favorite. In spite of this being the worst we have ever had, if not compared to the hundreds of Kanom Krok sampled in Thailand, they were actually pretty good. At four dollars a pop, this snack is about twelve times the price of the Thai version. Worth it? I'm not sure, but we might be back some day in the future. Or maybe I'll save my money for tacos.
Come early, or not at all to avoid the mad rush. 9 am to 2 pm Sundays only!
1911 Russell St
Berkeley, CA 94703