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The Best Kanom Tian in Thailand

If you are browsing the Sakon Nakhon markets and come across some small pyramid shaped items wrapped in banana leaves, you don’t want to pass them up! What is inside is called Kanom Tian (ขนมเทียน), also spelled Khanom Thian. It’s a sweet snack made of sticky rice flour, coconut, and sugar (plus some additional stuffing ingredients like mung beans or nuts, depending on the maker).

The people of Sakon Nakhon make some of the best Kanom Tian in Thailand, one reason being that they grow so much excellent sticky rice here, and the sticky rice flour is hand made. Fresh coconut (just cut down from the tree) and pure cane sugar also make a big difference.

The word Tian means “candle” in Thai, which is appropriate, as you’ll frequently find this snack served during Thai holidays and celebrations where lots of candles are lit. It is best to eat Kanom Tian right away, as they are best when fresh. Don’t put them in a refrigerator back home or at your hotel room, because it hardens them and they will lose their moist, chewy texture. They’ll last for a few days just fine at room temperature.

Another small dessert that the Sakon Nakhon people are recognized for is the sweet custard like snack Kanom Tuay. To learn more about this sweet, check out our article on the best Khanom Thuai in Thailand.

David Alan