Pathongko (fried savoury dount)

The pathongko is the Thai version of the Chinese Donut or Youtiao: it is deep fried dough and normally eaten with coffee or soy milk for breakfast.

Pathongko at a train station in Thailand

Chinese Donuts

Chinese Donuts are eaten all over South East in Cambodia, Burma, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. The recipe is slightly different in each country, as is the way they are eaten. In Burma they sometimes stuff meat inside and re-fry them. In Thailand they are normally eaten freshly cooked with a milky beverage.

Legend Behind the Chinese Donut

One distinctive feature which all the regional variations have in common is that they are made with two pieces of dough joined together. Chinese legend is that the dish was designed to be a protest against a particularly despised official in China’s Song Dynasty. One strip is meant symbolise the official, the other his wife. Both strips are dropped into burning oil which a common punishment for wrong doers in the Song period making the preparation of the dish a symbolic act of protest.

Train and Bus Stations

Thai people generally attach no specific symbolic meaning to pathongko they just like the way they taste. In Thailand you will normally only find pathongko in big towns, such as Bangkok, and particularly at train and bus stations in the morning.

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