I will crassly admit that the sole purpose of this post is to make my siblings jealous – which is probably not something that a pastor should admit to in public, but there you have it. On the streets of Bangkok, between the hours of 6 AM and 7 AM, it is possible to find a street vendor who makes what we call “Dutchman’s Breeches.” This is the Thai version of beignets or sopapillas, crafted from sweet dough that is deep-fried so that it is crunchy outside and soft inside. Often made from two strips of dough joined at the top, when they are cooked they look like little fat trousers, which probably led to them being named “Dutchman’s Breeches.” They also look somewhat like the flower, dicentra cucullaria, which also has the nickname “Dutchman’s Breeches.” Rather than coating these pastries with powdered sugar (as is done with beignets) or drizzling them with honey (as is done with sopapillas), “Dutchman’s Breeches” are dipped in sweetened condensed milk. They are known to the Thai as “Bahdahngoh.”
This vendor of “Dutchman’s Breeches” set up shop on the sidewalk in front of Bangkok Christian Hospital, a renown medical establishment founded by Presbyterian missionaries in the last century. It is only a short walk from the Bangkok Christian Guesthouse where we are staying. As you can see from the thumbnail photos below, Mama prepares the dough and slides it into the hot oil. Big sister keeps turning the cooking breeches until Mama decides they are done. Mama then scoops them out and little sister packages them for waiting customers.
I discovered that “Dutchman’s Breeches” now go for 2 Thai baht apiece, so I bought a bag of ten to share with Mom for breakfast. With my purchase safely in hand, I asked Mama if I could take a few photos. She laughed and said yes, so I managed snap a few digital images of the family at work. This scene does not last long, for the children must be in school by 8 AM, but they do a booming business during the morning commute.
I walked back to the Guesthouse and shared my treasure with Mom. There is nothing like a cup of tea and a few “Dutchman’s Breeches” to start the day. It brought back memories of vacations on the beach when we, as a family, would go searching for “Dutchman’s Breeches” at dawn to bring back to our cabin to eat as we watched the sun rise over the ocean. Good times, good memories, great comfort food… come and get it!