Foreigner cakes

and a penguin lovechart

On This Day

1497: Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira, departed on his first voyage. It was this initial voyage that connected the Atlantic with the Indian Oceans by an oceanic route. This connection was a major historical event as it allowed the Portuguese to establish a colonial empire in Asia, traces of which are still present in our modern world.

1663: King Charles II granted a new charter to Rhode Island and the English colony of Providence Plantations. This charter granted royal recognition to the colony, and outlined many freedoms for the inhabitants of Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Royal Charter allowed the colony to make its own laws and granted the inhabitants religious freedom. The document also served as the guiding document for the colony’s government until 1843, 180 years later.

1776: Liberty Bell rang out from the tower of Independence Hall (then known as the Pennsylvania State House) summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence read by Colonel John Nixon. While the document had been adopted by the Continental Congress four days earlier, the bell did not ring until July 8th when the document returned from the printer who created 200 copies.

Morning Jam

Canadian bluegrass band The Dead South has a new song. Yay!

Not So Trending

A pastry made possible only by the merging of cultures

Let’s talk Thai.

And Portuguese.

And cake.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to set foot in Siam (thanks in no small part to our friend the Count), and when they did, they brought recipes and culinary techniques that have influenced Thai cuisine for centuries.

Khanom farang kudi chin is a delicious (by all accounts) sponge cake.

“Khanom farang” translates literally to “foreigner cakes” while “kudi chin” refers to a historic neighbourhood in Bangkok where these are made. These cakes were introduced by the Portuguese settlers, and have been made in pretty much the same way for centuries.

The recipe calls for flour, duck eggs, and sugar. Unlike most European baked goods at the time, the Portuguese settlers had to improvise and learn to get by without traditional ingredients like yeast.

Photo from Trip Advisor.

This is the Thanusingha bakery in Bangkok, a tiny family-owned shop that has been open for over 100 years.

Their current owner, Teepakorn Sudjidjune, is the fifth generation of his family to own Thanusingha. They still use the same family recipe for khanom farang that has changed very little since the Portuguese settlers started making this delectable treat 500 years ago. Thanusingha still uses no rising agents, no dairy, and they still bake the cakes in old brass trays.

The khanom farang are topped with a wide range of fruits imported by Chinese settlers like raisins, sweet gourds, and persimmon, each with a special meaning to the Chinese. The raisin is for good health, the gourd is to balance the temperature in your body, and the persimmon is for good luck.

An embodiment of cultural assimilation (or appropriation depending on your point of view), these cakes are still wildly popular, and this one bakery alone does 300 per day.

Learn more about khanom farang.

Quick Bites

  1. If you use Gmail, you probably noticed all the spam lately. Also, if you still use Gmail, just fucking stop already. Switch to Protonmail.

  2. Waze is being rebranded by Pentagram (of course).

  3. Penguin love drama is apparently really fucked up, so the Kyoto Aquarium has an epic flowchart to keep track of the relationships.

  4. Guy walks around stores with his wife’s thong stuck to the outside of his shorts and doesn’t notice.

  5. Uber is buying Postmates for an ungodly amount of money.

Cover photo by Casey Allen.

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