In my years in Thailand, I’ve often seen these curly, shiny things on sticks. Always in a rush I’ve never bothered to find out what they were.
But, last week, buying snacks at a Thai food stall with a friend, when my friend grabbed a bag of these things I asked her what they were. She told me Thai dried fish, mixed with flour, glazed with a sweet, sticky spice then reshaped and put on sticks and her sister loved them. Ooookaaaayy….
At only 25 baht (78 cents) for 25 sticks, I figured I’d buy a bag as, when I shop for food in Thailand, I have a rule. Always buy something new I’ve never eaten before so I can learn about Thai food and broaden my food tastes. Besides, if I didn’t like them, I know 50 Thais in my building would. Unluckily for the Thais but luckily for me however, these things are delicious.
When you first bite into each Thai fish stick they’re a bit solid. Obviously, as it’s dried fish they’re stiffened to the texture of leather, so they’re hard and chewy. After a couple of chews though, the texture softens quickly and then the slightly spicy slightly sweet sauce seeps through and, yum, is it good. I ate five sticks in quick succession before deciding I was going to make myself sick if I chowed down on the whole bag (not to say I didn’t eat the rest of them that night and the following morning).
You’ll see these bags of Thai dried fish snacks or just single sticks, along with lots of other fishy treats, at food stalls all over Thailand. For 2-3 baht you can try a single fish stick or buy a whole bagful for yourself for 25-35 baht depending on the shop and the type of fish they use.