Shophouse is an architectural style often seen in South East Asian cities and towns in which the business is at the street level and the family quarters are in the back or upstairs. Business and family are only separated by thin cement walls and inevitably the two realms mix creating a unique retail experience. The retail experience that we are interested in is the dining and eating experience. To us, Thai cuisine is all about eating among the cacophony of family, friends, strangers and whoever happens to be nearby.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Spanking The Fish

nostalgia markets=fair food

It has been over six weeks since we launched our Monday night Shophouse: food off the path dinners at Licorous restaurant. The menu has been evolving and changing. However, one dish has remained a constant on our menu - ทอดมันปลา, "tord mun pla" or curried fish cakes. The popularity of the fish cakes is a testament to keeping things simple, keeping things real and not messing with traditions.

Tord mun is a Thai food classic and is always served with a relish of sorts containing cucumber, vinegar, chilli and sugar. Our version is a bit of a nod to the country fair by making the cakes into bite sized portions and placing them into a bowl with fried basil leaves, the cucumber sauce drizzled over, and stabbed with a few bamboo skewers. One can see this version of the fish cakes at the provincial markets geared toward the nostalgia starved Thai middle class. Little bowls of banana leaves are made and the fish cakes go in and one can wander through the markets stalls poking at the cakes and eating at your leisure. 
clunk clunk spank spank

Here in Seattle, we get in catfish and grind it a few times, then pound it in a mortar and pestle with an egg, PK's red curry paste, fish sauce, lime leaf and sliced green beans. The most important part is slapping and spanking the fish paste into a bowl in order to pulverize the proteins a bit, making a more poofy, and slightly rubbery cake.
makin' cakes
Fancy cakes at shophouse