06/02/15 10:45am

Thai Delicacies from the Sugar Club Festival

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Sugar Club’s i tim ka ti is only served during festivals.

As regular readers of this blog know, Sugar Club, with its vast selection of Thai junk food, desserts, and prepared foods is one of my favorite Elmhurst haunts. On the last Sunday of the month the shop has been holding a market and festival. Somehow I’ve missed the last two festivals, but I’m glad I stopped by this Sunday.

Tables were set up offering all sorts of Thai handicrafts and delicacies, including a rice dish they called “Thai bibimbap.”  As I waited on line to order one, a friend who works at the market said, “I’m going to make something for you. We only have it today.”

Moments later i tim ka ti, a Thai ice cream sandwich, foiled the plan for a late breakfast of Thai bibimbap. A hot dog bun cradled pandan scented sticky rice and three scoops of homemade coconut ice cream topped with candied jackfruit and roasted peanuts. It was the best, and only, Thai ice cream sandwich I’ve ever had for breakfast.

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Khao yum a DIY Thai bibimbap of sorts.

After perusing the market for a while I got back on line for the rice dish, whose name I learned was khao yum. “No more,” the gal behind the table said. “What about that one?” I asked pointing hopefully to a premade sample.

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Blue rice makes khao yum extra nice.

I walked over to a nearby park and sat down to assemble the Southern Thai specialty. With its shredded carrots, chopped long beans, cucumbers, papaya, sprouts, and noodles it did rather resemble its Korean counterpart. It was the other components—lemongrass, kaffir lime, dried red pepper, ground fish, and a wedge of lime—that gave the dish away as Thai.

The rice, which had been colored a light blue by being steamed with pea flowers, came in a separate package as did the sweet palm sugar based sauce. Mixing the whole lot up proved difficult, eventually I closed the container and gave it several vigorous shakes.

The resulting rice salad was crunchy, bright, sweet, spicy, herbaceous, fishy and above all distinctly Thai. I can’t wait to see what dishes Sugar Club makes for the festival next month.

Sugar Club, 81-18 Broadway, Elmhurst, 718-865-9018

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