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tiab (เตียบ)

Thai name for the hsun ok, i.e. a usually cone-shaped, tray-like container with a stand, originally from Myanmar and used for offering food to Buddhist monks. They are often fashioned into the form of a lotus, with the compartment shaped in the form of a monk's alms bowl (fig.). They are generally made from bamboo strips, which in Thai are known as tok (fig.), and neatly shaped and assembled to form a vessel (fig.), which is then covered with lacquer (fig.). They may consist of one compartment, usually divided by a tray creating a double space, in which the food is placed. There also exist a similar, yet more flat model of food container, of which the inner tray is divided in sector-like segments, often with a small circular compartment at the centre. The latter is typically used to serve tea leaf salad (fig.), but also other snacks, such as nuts and seeds, and known as laat hpaat khwat (fig.). Hsun ok are nowadays also used in restaurants to serve food and fruit in a more original manner (fig.). Many tiab are elaborately decorated, often with a kanok-like design in gold leaf (fig.) or engraved with a pattern filled with a colour, and have become a much loved souvenir. They come in all sizes and can easily be taken apart to facilitate transportation (fig.). Centuries ago they were produced in Chian Toong.