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kanom saneh jan (ขนมเสน่ห์จันทน์)

Thai. Name for an old kind of sweet, which loosely translates as ‘charming sandalwood candy’. In appearance, it is somewhat similar to the Japanese-style sweet kanom moji (fig.). Kanom saneh jan is yellowish brown with a brownish top and has a rounded shape. It is fashioned to resemble look chan, the fragrant Gold Apple, sometimes referred to as the fruit of the Sandalwood Tree, which in turn is very similar in appearance to its cousin, the persimmon (fig.). Besides rice flour, sticky rice powder, coconut milk, brown sugar and egg yolk, ingredients also include some yellow food colouring, as well as a little sandalwood powder, an ingredient also used in the manufacturing of incense sticks. The sweets are typically topped with a brown paste made from beans. Kanom saneh jan is traditionally served as the dessert in wedding ceremonies. According to legend, some day a boy picked a bright yellow sandalwood fruit for his mother to eat at dinner. However, on his way home, he lost the fruit, yet the fruit's delightful scent still remained. Hence, since at that night there was a full moon, the boy went back to the tree to pick another fruit and met a girl there, who was also picking fruits of this tree for her father, which she did on every full moon night. The boy liked the girl and thus returned there each full moon to pick fruits together, until they fell in love and eventually got married. Since the fruits are believed to bring happiness, the couple took the seeds of this fruit and added the other ingredients to form the dessert for the wedding, and so it is that kanom saneh jan became a popular wedding dessert up to now. In English sometimes referred to as sweet egg yolk charms. See also POSTAGE STAMPS (1) and (2).