Of all the delicious Thai desserts, sticky rice with ripe mango is probably the most beloved by locals as well as a firm favorite of foreign visitors. CNN recently ranked this delectable and traditional treat among the world’s top 50 desserts.
Sticky rice with mango, or ‘khao niew mamuang’, is cooked glutinous rice mixed with sweetened coconut cream. This blend creates a creamy flavor with a soft but chewy texture, which is already quite tasty on its own. This dessert sticky rice should not be confused with the plain version that is served with savory dishes like somtum or fried chicken.
When served, the sweet sticky rice is topped with a rich coconut cream sauce, sprinkled with toasted, cracked mung beans and accompanied with slices of soft, ripe mango. The two favoured varieties of mango that best complement this dessert are nam dok mai and aok rong. The preparation of this dish is as simple as its taste is stunning.
Sticky rice with mango is sold everywhere in Bangkok; in big restaurants, at food courts in shopping centres, at Suvarnabhumi Airport, and from street stalls in tourist areas, but quality varies widely. If you want to try the real deal, the following three shops are among the best in Bangkok. Even though these shops sell scrumptious mango and sticky rice all year round, Thai mangoes are best enjoyed in summer (between March and May).
Suitable for foodies in the old city quarter or Rattanakosin Island
Kor Panich is a legendary shop for sticky rice; it was founded eighty years ago by Karb Chiabchalard. To begin with, his shop sold a range of Thai desserts, without specializing. Then, one day, his wife Sarapee noticed that the item their patrons enjoyed the most was the sticky rice with mango. This dessert soon became their main product and has been a best seller until today.
The fantastic taste of Kor Panich’s sticky rice comes from the raw ingredients that are selected from the best sources; Kiew Ngu sticky rice grains from Chiang Rai, coconut from Chumphon and salt from Samut Sakhon. The shop’s sticky rice is firm, grainy and not mushy; it is aromatic and tastes very good even on its own.
There are vendors selling mangoes in front of the shop regularly; you can buy some to accompany the sticky rice. You can either take some home, or sit to eat at one of the shop’s small tables if you just can’t wait!.
Tanao Rd, Khet Phra Nakhon, near San Chao Pho Suea Shrine
Open: 7.00 am - 6.00 pm (closed on Sunday from June to December)
Price: 100 Baht per set
Suitable for foodies along the BTS Sukhumwit Line
Mae Waree has been selling sticky rice and mango for many decades and has never been short of customers. Her shop is situated in a very good location, only a few steps away from BTS’s Thonglor station. It is not the location that makes the sticky rice of this shop famous, however, but its taste and varieties; green sticky rice (cooked in pandan leaves), black sticky rice and the normal white sticky rice. This shop also uses sticky rice grains from Chiang Rai, the province that produces the best sticky rice. The coconut cream is freshly made each day from mature coconuts and the mangoes are succulent.
Mae Waree is a take-away shop but many tourists just can’t resist the temptation and enjoy the scrumptious dessert right in front of the shop, and why not?! The shop is open from six o’clock in the morning until eleven at night so you can drop in any time you like to sample the delightful flavours.
Situated at the beginning of Soi Thonglor (Sukhumwit 55), reached conveniently by BTS. Get off at Thonglor station
Open: every day, 6.00 am – 11.00 pm
Price: 150 Baht per set
Suitable for foodies along Airport Link Line
Muhummad is not as busy as the other two shops because it is located in Khlong Tan, a residential district not popular with tourists. Thus, the fact that this business has survived for such a long time is testament to the quality and taste of their wares. Muhummad’s sticky rice is not mushy and is slightly salty, which contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the mango. More coconut sauce can be added for those who prefer a sweeter flavor.
This is a take-away shop. Mangoes are available at the front of the shop – either choose yourself or ask the friendly shop assistant to help choose some for you. Mangoes are sold by weight and will be peeled, sliced and packed in a separate container from the sticky rice, convenient for you to take home.
Info: A five-minute walk from Ramkhamhaeng Station, Airport Link Line to Khlong Tan intersection on Pattanakarn Road side.
Open: every day, 9.00 am – 7.00 pm
Price: 90-100 Baht (according to the weight of the mangoes)