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Kaeng Pa Muang Kan : Spicy Specialty of the West

Kaeng Pa Muang Kan: Spicy Specialty of the West


Having local dishes at places you visit can make your trip more enjoyable. In some provinces such as Kanchanaburi, there are special local dishes that you should look forward to. One of them is a meal called kaeng pa muang Kan which is a very spicy soup of Kanchanaburi).

According to one story, the dish was created by hunters who usually cooked their food with chili and salt and wild meat they hunted. Later the dish became more popular due to its mouthwatering taste.

Today, kaeng pa is known as one of healthy dishes because of its clear soup cooked with many types of herbs. What distinguishes kaeng pa in Kanchanaburi from other kaeng pa varieties in other parts of the country is that the dish must have three different types of eggplants. The Thai eggplant (makkhuea por in Thai language), pea eggplant (makhuea phuang) as well as the Dutch eggplant (makhuea lueang or makhuea khuen), which is a weedy shrub that bears pale yellow fruits.

The heart of this recipe is the thai red curry paste called namphrik kaeng pa. It is made of pounded dried bird's eye chilies with galangal, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, shrimp paste and salt. The dish is prepared by scooping the curry paste in a heated pot and adding water. As soon as the soup is boiled, add freshwater fish which must be either catfish (pla duk) or Asian redtail catfish (pla khang). Chicken, frog, pork or beef can be an alternative to fish. Cook the meat with namphrik kaeng pa before water is added.

When the meat is cooked, add those three types of eggplants. For the yellow fruits, the seeds must be taken out. Then, taste its saltiness and spice. Fish sauce can be added now. Finally, add sliced red pepper and basil and turn off the heat. Some restaurants also add extra herbs such as thin sliced fingerroot and young peppercorns in the final process.

When you visit Kanchanaburi, you will find Kaeng Pa Muang Kan at some well-known restaurants including Chukkadon, Khrua Khao Tong, Bunnam Kaeng Pa and Phrik Kaeng. Try it and enjoy its taste!