Thai Street Food: Bua Loy Nam King

Bua Loy Nam King is a refreshing break from coconut-heavy Thai sweets (though it’s doubtful such a break is ever required). This sweet originated in China, which might explain why it contains no form of coconut at all. Instead it features mochi-like balls of sticky rice filled with a lightly sweetened black sesame paste, swimming in a hot ginger tea soup.

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The broth (nam king) is intensely gingery and I always request that it be left unsweetened. As such, it is bold and just spicy enough to be mildly uncomfortable. The bua loy (sticky rice flour dumplings) are glossy and toothsome (I’m kicking myself a little for using that word, but if the shoes fits…), while the black sesame filling is grainy, intense, and rich.

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Bua Loy Nam King, despite being served piping hot, is always a light and refined snack, though to be honest, I’ve yet to refine my manner of eating it. With just a few bua loy swimming in the nam king I’m not sure what the proper ratio of rice balls to ginger soup should be. Should I break the bua loy in half or thirds and scoop up as much nam king as I can, being sure to mix both elements in each bite? I’ve tried this, but to be frank, there’s just too much nam king to compose balance bites. So I invariably slurp the spicy, warming ginger infusion to a manageable level, then savor each wonderfully chewy bua loy. The perfectly sweetened, slightly earthy bites of sticky rice dumplings and black sesame are worth savoring.

One bowl of Bua Loy Nam King usually costs around 20 baht ($0.67).


  1. they have something like this at journey. it is dry and rolled in sesame seeds. yummy.

  2. Wonderful dish - I always have it when I am taking a break in Phuket Town. http://www.timinphuket.blogspot.com/