Although not as well known outside of the country, Thai sweets can be just as varied as the better known curries and stir-fries. While some desserts can touch on the extremes of sweetness, many others feature the same mixture of sweet, sour, hot and salty, the balance of which is the essence of Thai cuisine. Sweet egg custards may have chopped spring onions or fried garlic added. This can be an unpleasant surprise to westerners, but when it's done well it creates an absolutely sublime taste.
Colorful Thai taffy candies on sale at Chiang Mai's night bazaar.
The western concept of dessert - a sweet dish served at the end of a meal - is not a traditional part of Thai eating habits, although it is now common in restaurants. Sweet things can be eaten at any time of day, with or without an accompanying meal. While curry stalls may often have a dessert on offer, sweets are most often sold from their own carts, which specialize in a particular dish or type.