In Asia, the lotus flower is a symbol of purity and good luck.
In Buffalo, cookie lovers might be lucky enough to find their way to the A&A Cookies stand at the West Side Bazaar (25 Grant St.), where New Phanthady sells lotus blossom cookies.
The ethereally light, crispy cookie is a deep-fried wonder flavored with black sesame seeds and coconut milk, curled while still hot to resemble the sacred blossom.
Phanthady, who arrived from Laos five years ago, is one of the immigrants serving hometown favorites at the bazaar, whose cooks collectively offer Burmese, Lao, Arakanese, Shan, Thai, Ethiopian and Peruvian specialties.
The small stands try to offer something for everyone; besides lotus blossom cookies, A&A also sells chocolate chip cookies and cannoli, plus Laotian coffee, tea and other drinks.
The cookies are called dok jok, and versions are made across South Asia, from Thailand to India. In Laos, they are made in restaurants and groceries, said Phanthady, who runs the stand with her sister. In Buffalo, “we wanted people to try a new thing, a snack from Laos,” she added. They’re catching on, too. “I sell a lot every day, to people from Laos, and from America.”
If they can sell enough cookies, eventually a restaurant might follow, Phanthady said.
Actually, the dok jok are like an Italian or Swedish rosette cookie, with an Asian accent from the sesame and coconut.
To make them, Phanthady dips a long-handled brass mold into batter and then into bubbling oil. She slips the hot cookie off and while it’s still pliable, bends it to the desired shape. If you’re interested, Phanthady can sell you one of the brass cookie forms imported from Laos.
“They say it’s like a waffle, but has a different taste and a different look,” she said. One glance will tell you that. At $2 for three or $6 for 10, they’re an exotic treat that’s hard to beat.
For information, call 464-6389 or visit www.westsidebazaar.com.