Thursday, 9 January 2014
Bangkok Grilled Fish Pla Chon Pao Grilled Snakehead at Street Food Stall near CentralWorld
After roaming around the modern sprawling CentralWorld mall briefly, we were drawn to the sidewalk along bustling main road (Ratchadamri) outside the mall.
The sidewalk is lined with hundreds of small colourful street stalls selling all kinds of everything, just like the pasar malams of Malaysia and Singapore. There were also plenty of street hawkers to tempt the shoppers and tourists.
Human and vehicular traffic were just as jammed along this tourist strip. The fumes and noise from cars mixed with the breath and voices of people.
A short row of street side seafood stalls just outside ISETAN department store caught my eye. The seafood stalls were packed with mostly tourists, just like the whole stretch of sidewalk stalls.
Finding a seat can be a challenge during peak hours as this style of dusty, noisy, street side al fresco dining is one of the signatures of Bangkok. Judging by the bursting crowd, it is an experience many tourists relish.
Most of the seafood is cooked in ways that I am familiar with, except for the grilled fish. And, I instinctively opted for the unfamiliar.
I counted about 5 of these mobile grills along the short stretch. I randomly picked one, the one nearest to the pedestrian bridge.
The river Perch and Snakehead fish were neither gutted nor scaled.
Each fish is stuffed with a stalk of lemongrass through the mouth and coated with a layer of salt.
The fish are then laid on a hot charcoal grill. The fish is turned regularly as it is being roasted.
Here is our Snakehead fish served with the skin peeled and pushed aside to expose the warm flesh.
The scaly skin is not eaten. (We paid 150 Baht for one fish).
The flesh of the Snakehead is quite similar in flavour, taste and texture to the grilled or deep fried (pecel lele) catfish in Johor. The white meat is moist, soft and slightly sweet. The fish has no fishy taste but it was a little bitter at the belly area. I actually like the slight bitter taste.
The fish is served with a sauce made with fish sauce and lots of ground green chili. This chili makes the fish more tasty for people who found the Snakehead fish meat a little too bland.
This is the grilled Perch from the next table.
In Johor Bahru, a similar grilled fish is available at BR kopitiam in Permas Jaya.
The seafood stalls sell other seafood like prawns. crabs and shellfish. Bangkok is one place where one can never finished trying out it's legendary street food. So for this time we tried only the grilled Snakehead, to save stomach space for other food (which I will share with you shortly) and also for another day.
My stay in Bangkok is graciously hosted by Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok.
Restaurant name: No name street side seafood stalls
Address: Along Ratchadamri Road (outside CentralWorld), Bangkok, Thailand
Hours: The stalls open about 6:00pm and closes at around 10:00pm
No pork, not lard
Date visited: 19 Aug 2013
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