Roti Sai Mai on the way back from the ancient city of Ayuthayya

Whilst on a post-university holiday to Thailand in the summer of 2012, my sister and I decided to explore the ancient city of Ayuthayya, founded in 1350 by King U Thong in effort to escape an outbreak of smallpox in his province.  Following several invasions and destruction at the hands of the Burmese during the 1700s all that remains of the once thriving Siamese city are its temples or Wat- which form the Ayuthayya Historical Park. (The Thai word for a temple is ‘Wat’)

After roaming around several Wats in the heat, and marvelling at the sheer volume and variations of beautifully finished Buddha sculptures that lined the walls of the temples, we decided to call it a day and head back to Bangkok.  On the way back, we spotted this stall and excitedly asked our taxi driver to stop here so we could investigate what it had on offer.Roti Sai Mai Vendor- Ayuthayya

The stall was filled with several bags containing nests of what resembled candyfloss but with a far more strand-like structure in different colours and flavours. JACKPOT! We had found an authentic Roti Sai Mai stall!

Roti Sai Mai – pronounced ‘loti sigh migh’ by the Thai- is a thai dessert or even a snack food consisting of a fluffy pile of spun sugar which you wrap up in, what seems to be, a rice pancake and eat in a similar fashion to an Arabic Shawarma or Mexican Burrito! The original Sai-Mai carries a rich toffee or caramel flavour from the use of palm sugar- far superior to the refined sugary taste of its western, machine made counterparts.

Close-up of Sai Mai- this is their original flavour.

Close-up of Sai Mai- this is the original flavour. You can see the structure really resembles hair!

We only tried this flavour and another which was Pandan flavoured- Delicious, and very addictive if you have a sweet tooth, like me! ( Pandan is a flavouring derived from Pandanus Leaves. It’s used in several thai desserts and dishes and imparts a sweet perfumed scent that is like no other!)

My sister and I had sampled this a few days prior to our escapades in Ayuthayya and were amazed by the novelty of it all! I did some further reading and learnt of its historical origins at the time of the Portugese trading and missionary operations in Thailand during the 16th Century. They introduced egg yolks and flour- key ingredients in the manufacturing of the pancakes- to the Thais along with several other ingredients from their global operations in America and Sri Lanka such as  tea, chillies, cinnamon, cloves, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, lettuce, cabbage,  papaya, custard apples, guava, pineapples, pumpkin, peanuts and cashew nuts too! So that means globalisation is not such a new thing after all!!

Coming back to the main point–>Yes it is just sugar wrapped in a  pancake so you may end up saying hello to your dentist more than you would like, if you’re not careful. But who cares about the dentist when you could be sinking your teeth into these delightful rolls of joy, grinning as you chew each slightly soft, slightly crunchy bite, and thinking how much better this tastes than the candyfloss you ate as a child!

We bought Pandan flavoured Sai Mai which was served with Pandan and Black Sesame seeded rice pancakes. Delicious indeed!

We bought Pandan flavoured Sai Mai which was served with Pandan and Black Sesame seeded pancakes. Only 35 Baht for a large bag!

The ratings:

Taste– 5/5

Variations in Texture- 5/5

Novelty of Concept- 5/5

Simultaneously taking a bite out of history and experiencing sugary pancake-y euphoria ON THE ROADSIDE – off the scale!!


6 thoughts on “Roti Sai Mai on the way back from the ancient city of Ayuthayya

  1. I really love your blog.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you build this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my own site and would love to learn where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Appreciate it!

    • Hello! I chose the colours and all of the images on here are taken by me. The theme is called CHUNKS and its a free layout from wordpress. Im doing a little readership survey, and want to ask how you came across my blog… Thanks for your comments. – Carrotsticks and Brownies 🙂

  2. Ayuthayya was the (admittedly beautiful) backdrop to one of the most terrifying moments of my life, when a random man tried to kidnap me and then a corrupt police officer suggested I pay them both money to go away.

    The food in Thailand is amazing, though! I’m so envious you were there. Did you go to any of the night markets and sample the very weird desserts on sale? For some reason, they seemed to put sweetcorn in everything, including yoghurt and milkshake.

    • I did indeed visit a few night markets(not in Ayuthayya) and observed some very odd desserts. CONDENSED MILK AND CORN are staples it seems… Amazing is an understatement. I will be posting in great frequency in the days to come , so you too can vicariously enjoy the food I discovered during my escapades!
      And Kidnapping!?@# I would have been petrified. Just as well you know Muay Thai now!!

      • Why do you think I took up Muay Thai? There’s a reason it’s the national sport over there :p

        Personally, I loved how much condensed milk they seemed to use in their desserts and drinks. I was less fond of the sweetcorn. I look forwards to reading about more of the Thai foods you sampled. Though most of my anticipation is reserved for when you finally start posting up your own culinary concoctions 🙂

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