The jelly dessert (also known as “aiyu”) is made from the gel from the seeds of a variety of fig, which is found in Taiwan. The extract is mixed with banana extract, which is then turned into a jelly.
Aniroj “Roj” Thantara, aged 56, has sold o aew almost all his working life. He began some 35 years ago in 1978, when his uncle handed the business to him.
“O aew was not very popular when I first started selling it. But when tourism increased on the island, suddenly I was selling more. When famous Thai country singer Ekkachai Sriwichai sang a song about the island’s foods to promote Phuket, I was selling so many bowls.”
To his knowledge, the dessert is only found in Phuket and Penang.
Mr Roj has moved around a number of places in Phuket Town, but is now based just a few shops down from famous noodle shop Yao Yen Ta Fo, on Pradipat Road.
Not long after Mr Roj moved, the Chalermraj Centre, (the Phuket Baba museum, on the corner of Phuket Road and Phang Nga Road) asked him to set up a second branch in front of the centre, because they considered o aew an important cultural food of Phuket.
Making o aew seems complicated, but Mr Roj says that for him it’s quite simple. After all, he can sometimes make around 400 bowls per day of the delicious treat.
First the fig seeds are put in water for one hour, until a gel-like liquid seeps out.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, a banana is squeezed to a pulp until liquid also comes out of it.
Then the banana extract, and the fig seed extract is mixed with calcium sulfate and left to set for seven hours until it forms a clear, white jelly, which is then served with red beans, ice, syrup or soda, grass jelly, or banana or any other topping you like.
Mr Roj’s Pradipat Rd branch is open from 10am to 7pm, and his Chalermraj Centre branch is open from 1pm-5pm. One bowl of o aew is B12.
For more details contact Mr Roj on 089 728 9505.