Thai Green Revolution Takes on Traditional Pandan Coconut-Rice Pancakes

Soft Secrets
26 Feb 2021

Thailand is the first country in Southeast Asia where cannabis legislation is advancing well.

It looks yummy. It must be yummy. And it makes you want to fly to Thailand in the middle of a pandemic. Asian snacks and foods containing cannabis are really attention-grabbing, perhaps more so than their western counterparts.

Thailand, which only recently allowed infusing foods with cannabis, is redefining an array of its traditional dishes and sweats, and the latest affair includes its pandan coconut-rice pancakes.

This February, dessert-maker Kanom Siam announced it would introduce a new item on the menu in a nod to the kingdom’s transformation to accept cannabis and invest in the nascent market.

“The latest item of Kanom Siam, very soon,” the dessert shop teased with photos of a cannabis leaf draped over matching green baked goodies that seem to melt in the mouth.

“This dessert has fragrance from pandan and is mixed with cannabis species carefully selected by us - from the strains, controlled cultivation, harvest and logistics - ready to be cooked fresh for our fans to try,” the shop said. The shop also said its new sweet weed-infused snack would be available at three branches: Siam Paragon, EmQuartier, and inside the Suan Plern Market on Rama V Road. Lucky for those who can be in Thailand to try it out.

Kanom Siam is well known in Thailand for its soft and chewy pandan coconut-rice pancakes. Similar recipes can be found in other Asian countries, like Indonesia, where rice is the main ingredient in many dishes. This shop in particular cooks rice pancakes since 1975 when it originally opened in Siam Square in Bangkok.

Thailand’s transition in regulating medical cannabis and allowing chefs to spice meals with the plant has been unfolding fast since decriminalization took place last December. For a business to be able to sell goodies containing cannabis, it must obtain a license from the kingdom’s health ministry. Although most leaves of marijuana were made legal with the decriminalization vote in, THC is still not allowed for use. 

The Chaophraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, a renowned center for practicing traditional Thai medicine, was the first in 2021 to stir its clinic restaurant’s menu with some yummy cannabis dishes, including deep-fried cannabis leaves or used fresh in a salad or infused in drinks.

“They’ve put the cannabis leaves in my noodle soup and this is actually an old traditional knowledge of Thais,” one restaurant-goer said when the clinic introduced the green-stirred goods on its menu in January. While the treats are not supposed to give cerebral high as seen in smoking or ingesting THC, those who tried the Thai clinic foods reported dry throat and craving for sweets as some of the side effects. The dishes are billed to improve mood, appetite and sleep, as well as help ignite creativity. 

Thailand's green revolution is aligned with its national strategy to boost medical marijuana tourism.  As Thais broke Asian silence on legalizing weed, it's anticipated that more countries will be caught in the fad in a bid to benefit from the million-dollar industry.

Soft Secrets