Delicious Discs of Gold
Glistening fishcakes with a delightfully ‘bouncy’ texture, Thot Mun Pla Krai are a sought-after palate pleaser
Words: Sarita Urupongsa
Thot Mun Pla Krai (clown featherback fishcakes) are a classic Thai delicacy that usually feature high on appetiser lists. They also serve as a healthy street snack between meals as they come packed with protein and Omega-3s.
As their name indicates, the most popular fish for these cakes is the clown featherback (Pla Krai), which gives them their delicious chewy texture and golden hue. The fish, of course, must be fresh.
To make them, the fish must be ground or chopped to a fine paste. It is then pounded or kneaded with other ingredients including fish sauce, sugar, finely sliced winged beans or long beans, kaffir lime zest and other spices to add an extra zing.
The perfect Thot Mun Pla Krai must be “bouncy” in texture and slightly savoury to balance the natural sweetness of the fish. The crunchiness of the beans should also punctuate every bite.
Once the cakes are deep-fried to a golden brown, you can prepare the dip or Ajat, which is usually diced cucumbers, ground peanuts and red spur chillies soaked in white vinegar with a touch of salt and sugar. The dip’s sweet-tangy flavour cuts through the oiliness of the cakes.
Thot Mun Pla Krai features in most Thai restaurant menus and if you’re lucky you will also find them served piping hot in fresh markets and food courts.
Fah Thai’s Pick
Treat your tastebuds to a culinary tour of five traditional Thai appetisers at The Local in the heart of Bangkok. On the itinerary are noodles in northern curry; roasted coconut, lime and shallot in lotus petals; fishcakes; deep fried chicken in pandan leaves; and rice crackers with Thai toppings.
Chiang Mai’s legendary fish noodle shop Soi Tee is famous for its bouncy fish balls, but gourmets also flock here for Thot Mun Pla Krai.
Open daily 8am-7pm, 6/10 Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, +66 (0) 95 642 0791, facebook.com/Soitee88
Kimjae in Phuket serves scrumptious Thot Mun Pla Krai but is also known for other Southern delicacies like Phad Thai-style Gui noodles, Hor Mok (curried fish steamed in banana leaf), and Gian (fried pork rolls mixed with herbs) to name a few.
Open daily 10am-6pm, 36 Krabi Rd, Phuket, +66 (0) 84 646 5197, facebook.com/kimjaephuket