Thailand is known for its vibrant flavours and the abundance of seafood. Whilst most people in Thailand would have tried fish steamed or deep fried, which is fantastic, here are four fish dishes to should put on your wish list for when you are next in a Thai restaurant.
A Northeastern fish that is sensational in a salad is Bplaa Duk or Catfish. The catfish is grilled over coals and the flesh is then flaked into a sharp salad called Laap Bplaa Duk. Often the crispy skin is chopped and added as well for an amazing texture. As with most Isaan laaps, the dressing is seriously delicious.
Across Hua Hin you will see fish turning over hot coals; this is known as Bplaa Phao. The fish is heavily salt-crusted and stuffed with aromatics such as lemongrass, before being cooked on a rotating skewer over charcoal. The result is a succulent and moist fish that is generally served with two dipping sauces; one spicy and one more sweet, along with a collection of herbs and lettuce leaves that you can fill and eat.
It is truly a simple, yet delicious way to eat fish. One of the most unusual looking fish dishes is called Yam Bplaa Duk Fuu. With this dish, the catfish is first cooked whole; usually grilled or roasted. The skin is then removed and the flesh flaked to tiny pieces. It is then flashed fried in hot oil and here is where the magic occurs. The flakes start to form a raft or nest. Sometimes it is cooked until very crispy or sometimes the flesh is left a bit bigger which adds a different texture to the fish nest. It is normally served with a green mango salad on the side.
A little bit of the salad with its sharp dressing on top of the crispy fish, makes this dish a taste sensation. Bplaa Thuu, or Mackerel, is a fish that is prevalent in Thailand. You will see it on many menus, often served in a number of delicious ways. In an Isaan restaurant, you may order Laap Bplaa Thuu, or you may prefer it grilled, Bplaa Thuu Yaang. This is often served with some Khanom Jeen; fermented rice noodles along with fresh greens and spicy sauces. If you see Bplaa Thuu Dtom Khem on the menu, you must try it. This is a grilled mackerel sitting in a semi-sweet sauce of tamarind and dark soy; simply sensational! This fish is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and makes a great dish as part of any Thai meal.