The unsolved mystery of the ‘daredevil’ snack that’s sweet and delicious

To make Babin, you simply spread the mixed flour onto the pan and cook it on each side, similar to making pancakes.

The Nation

The Nation



File photo of Thai snack, 'Babin'. PHOTO: THE NATION

December 12, 2023

BANGKOK – Thai snacks often have amusingly perplexing names, like “Coconut pancake”, known as “Babin” in Thai. However, “Babin” has no connection to pancakes or coconuts — in Thai, it means daredevil.

The taste of Babin is pleasantly mild, not overly sweet or greasy, with a delightful aroma. Its main ingredients include glutinous rice flour (either black or white), coconut, coconut milk, eggs, sugar, and salt.

To make Babin, you simply spread the mixed flour onto the pan and cook it on each side, similar to making pancakes.

Babin’s flavour is generally comparable to desserts worldwide, and there’s no daredevilry required to enjoy it. The ingredients are ordinary, with no daring choices involved in selection.

The preparation process is straightforward, resembling the making of pancakes, requiring no daring techniques.

Furthermore, Babin is affordable, and there’s no need for any daring decision-making when purchasing it.

The name “Daredevil Dessert” has puzzled many Thais. Two versions attempt to explain its origin.

The first version suggests that Babin was influenced by “queijada de Coimbra”, a Portuguese dessert. The name comes from the last word of queijada de Coimbra, sounding like “ba” in Thai, meaning “mad”.

This version suggests that Portuguese nobles introduced this type of dessert to Thailand.

While the Portuguese use cheese in queijada de Coimbra, Thais substitute it with coconut.

However, the exact origin of the word “bin” is unknown.

Thais, known for their love of fun and enjoyment, might have named this snack “Babin” or “daredevil” just for the sake of amusement.

The second conjecture is that during the era of King Rama V, it was called “Paabin” because it was made by Aunt (Paa) Bin. As time passed, it became known as Babin.

Sudara Sujchaya, the editor of Documentary Journal, interviewed Prasartporn Maneeprasith, an 80-year-old resident of the Kudi Chin community in Bangkok. Grandma Prasartporn shared that the older relatives of her mother, named Mae (Mother) Bin, were the first to create the snack known as “Babin”. Originally, it was called “Aunt Bin’s Snack”, but how the name mutated to the current version remains unknown.

Despite its delicious flavour, Babin is not considered an auspicious or ceremonial snack used in ritualistic events like weddings, possibly due to its name.

scroll to top