I mentioned recently that Asian desserts have a tendency to be an acquired taste. That is absolutely, positively the case with Patchmon’s Thai Desserts.
But that’s part of the appeal — how often do you get a chance to try something that’s entirely unlike anything you’ve ever eaten before? There’s something thrilling about that, especially when the thing you’re eating is also delicious.
I tried three desserts, and the biggest “whoa, that’s new” was easily the Thai taro custard. For the most part, it’s not all that unusual — it kind of tastes like a much denser, richer version of creme caramel, with an almost cakey consistency.
It’s also topped with caramelized shallots.
It’s weird. The shallots aren’t just a topping — the whole thing is perfumed with their flavour. It sounds like it should be off-putting, but oddly enough, it works.
There’s no doubt that it’s unusual, though. It’s one of those things I ate with a perpetually furrowed brow. I’ll also admit that I didn’t finish it. It sat in my fridge for about a week until I finally threw it out. As much as I liked it, I never particularly felt like reliving that odd sensation of eating dessert that’s also a little bit oniony.
The next thing I tried was the Thai coconut layer cake. Despite the name, it’s actually more of a jelly, which the woman behind the counter explained is made with tapioca rather than gelatin, and which is flavoured with pandan leaves.
This was my favourite of the three. The texture was denser and creamier than your typical gelatin (it was somewhere between mochi and Jell-o), and the flavour was great, if a bit hard to describe. It’s vaguely nutty and almost malty. It’s quite good.
The third item was the ta-goe (sweet tapioca with coconut cream). I didn’t particularly enjoy this one. The texture — featuring a creamy top layer and a tapioca-infused bottom layer — was quite nice. But it had a sharply salty, almost sour flavour that I found to be a bit overwhelming. I have no doubt that it’s an authentic version of that particular dessert, but I think it’s an acquired taste that I haven’t yet acquired.