Visitors heading to Thailand’s islands hoping to savour the flavours of the Kingdom’s mouth-watering seafood will find a delectable range of dishes made with fresh prawns that are sure to satisfy the daily cravings.
There are gastronomic delights more sublime than a plat of freshly caught prawns, especially when they are cooked to perfection and offer that distinctive blend of crunch and creamy textures.
Thanks to its double-sided coastline, Thailand enjoys rich fishing grounds for the fruits of the sea, and prawns are just one of the fine seafood delicacies you can expect to find in the markets and on the menus.
Seawater and freshwater prawns are readily available in the Land of Smiles and the choice of preparations goes well beyond the country’s most famous dishes of tom yam goong and shrimp pad thai.
Villa guests in search of the ultimate seafood feast can ask their private chef to prepare one or even all of the prawn dishes below.
This tasty creation is a great way to whet your appetite for ocean fare before you continue onto a more extensive main course feast. Commonly served as an appetizer, goong sarong
is also a dish that can be prepared fairly easily in the kitchen of your private villa. The most common technique is to simply pezel the prawns – freshly bought from the local fresh market of course – leaving the hard tail flap but removing the dark vein. Then you grind some coriander, garlic and oil into a paste to marinate the prawns while soaking some egg noodles in hot water until soft. The final stage is to wrap the marinated prawns in noodles, so they are wearing their own ‘sarong’.
Goong chea nam pla
, which translates as ‘prawns soaked in fish sauce’ is a tangy, spicy Thai delicacy for lovers of raw seafood. If you request this dish from your private chef, ultra-fresh prawns are always the best – there’s no point in using frozen shrimp anyway with the delicious catch of the day at your fingertips. The fiery dressing is comprised of fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, garlic, coriander root and chilli. Served on a bed of sliced cabbage and garnished with fresh mint, this dish offers a taste sensation you will never forget.
To truly enjoy prawns, sometimes simplicity is best – and that usually means a barbecue. Seafood restaurants in island locations like Phuket and Koh Samui always have a selection tender, meaty prawns on the menu. In fact, in addition to saltwater tiger prawns, Thailand is also famous for its giant freshwater prawns, which taste sensational when cooked over hot coals and served dripping in garlic chilli sauce. Soft as a crab and as tasty as as lobster, these delectable giants are not to be missed.
Spicy salads are a staple of Thai cuisine, and if you fancy a change from the ubiquitous som tam
papaya salad, then you should try yam takarai goong sot
(fresh shrimp lemongrass salad). This zesty dish unites the flavours of sliced lemongrass, red onions, toasted cashew nuts and all-important fresh boiled shrimp. The magnificent mixture of crunchy cashews and zingy lemongrass makes this a great dish for a light lunch – it will satisfy your stomach without sending you into an afternoon food coma.
If you’re having one of those “hungry days”, then a plate of goong ob woon sen
(glass noodles with shrimp and soy sauce) is one of the heartier shrimp dishes you can order in Thailand. The clear noodles are fried with shrimp and soy sauce to deliver that satisfying dose of carbs every hungry tummy needs. Seasoned with white pepper and coriander, these delightful noodles have their own distinct flavour that is very different from the sweet, nutty kick you get from pad thai.