The Thai people are big fans of foods that are roasted over charcoal – chicken, meat and fish. On every street corner in Thailand, you’ll find smoky stands with enticing grilled dishes of all sorts: chicken, fish and seafood, meat and beef, and even bananas. Almost every market features a stand with piles of grey fish and every (whole) fish costs some 150-200 baht.
There is a big difference between making a grilled fish in a market stand or enjoying it in a restaurant – in a food stand, the fish quality is usually lower and its price is cheaper; it is grilled in advance, a long time before it’s served, and merely heated on the grill before providing it to the customer. The fish may taste good but in a good restaurant, it’ll be delicious, and cost only 3-4 dollars more – definitely worth it!
In a restaurant, the most common grilled fish are Pla Kapong, sea bass or red snappers, quality and meaty fish that are filled with herbs and covered in plenty of salt. Unlike market stands – in restaurants the salted fish is wrapped in aluminum paper, which prevents its meat from drying up and being harmed by the direct fire. As it is grilled in the charcoal heat, the flesh remains very juicy and moist. This way of cooking takes some 20 minutes and is only available in restaurants – certainly not in food stands.
Therefore, in a restaurant you can enjoy a fresh grilled fish that was prepared just for you, rather than a dish that was grilled long ago and waited for hours on the stand, while drying in the sun.
Personally, I tend to call the restaurant as soon as I’m on my way, in the car. This way, the fish is already placed on the grill once we get there, and we don’t have to wait. My advice to you, is to simply order it as you are seated by your table. I highly recommend enjoying the salt grilled fish at Sornthong restaurant.
I hope that you’ve added another delicious Thai dish to your menu…bon appetit!!