What is ‘Jok’ (โจ๊ก)?
‘Jok’, or ‘joke’ (โจ๊ก), is Thai for ‘rice porridge’, or ‘rice congee’. This is the perfect breakfast meal that will leave you full for a few hours and give you the energy to rev you up for a full day ahead. Alternatively, you can eat this meal anytime of day as most jok shops are open late night, too! This dish is very popular during Thailand’s very short cold season.
In its basic form, jok is just boiled rice. What gives it life and flavor is the variety of ingredients that can be added to meet your taste bud’s needs! Jok has all kinds of meat add-ins, which include pork balls, minced pork, liver, and other animal innards. Jok is usually served with a partially cooked or raw egg, that cooks as you add it to your hot bowl of jok. You can also opt for ‘kai kem’, or salted egg, if you need your jok to be on the salty side.
You can also buy some crispy toppings: fried dough, or ‘patongo’, which are crunchy fried nuggets which will add some crunch to a dish that is on the soft side. There are also thin, crispy fried vermicelli noodles that “snap, crackle, pop” like Rice Krispies when added to your jok.
Jok also comes with slivered ginger and chopped scallions, as well as a choice of sauces that you can mix and match to create your desired flavor: vinegar with orange chilis, soy sauce, and Thai dried chili flakes.
Try it out! There is also nothing like a cup of ‘jok’ when you’re feeling sick and feverish, or upon returning from a painful trip to the dentist!
Check out the jok shops in the hood and do your own taste-testing and comparing!