Pla ra: The Best Thai Sauce for som tum Dishes

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What is Pla Ra and Where Does it Come From?

pla ra

Isan people in Thailand has a special cuisine called Pla Ra, also known as Pla Daek, that they cook and eat often. Specifically the northern regions of Thailand and Laos, as well as certain southern Vietnamese and northern Burmese regions. There will be a different pla ra in each area. Today, pla ra is practiced on a global scale. Before eating raw fish, there is fermented fish that has been pasteurized.

Or clean pla ra, but either way, pla ra remain as popular as ever. Many grocery stores and produce markets sell the scoop by the pound. Pla Daekha and Pla Dagra are other names for Pla Ra that appear in several historical Lao texts. Literature in Laos and Isan, such as Pla Daek Pla Samor, Lam Busaba, and Orphan Thao, explicitly address the story of Pla Ra. Northern Thais sometimes refer to the Lao language as “Pla Ra that ha,” which is why you could hear the term “Pla Ra” in the country’s centre and northern areas.

How to Cook

Aside from sticky rice, larb, papaya salad, molam, and pla ra, pickled fish is the most significant condiment in the culture of the Isan area in Thailand. thai pla ra was a staple of Isan life before 1957, and every farmer’s family made it for themselves. by soaking fish in a marinade of somewhat sour fish How many fish can be caught and how often it rains are two major factors.

thai pla ra pla ra thai


pla ra sauce is distinguished by its use of tiny freshwater fish like Pla Soi Khao and Pla Kradi, which are marinated in rice bran and salt. Afterwards, they were bottled up. After letting it ferment for seven to eight months, you may consume it.

Fermentation to create worms is very delicious in those places where its value is high. Fish is fermented into a delicacy called pla ra, which is eaten year-round but is only caught during the off-season. The average annual production per Isan family is 27.09 kilograms of pla ra, and the average daily intake is between 15 and 40 grams, according to statistics.

som tum pla ra

Som tum pla ra

Depending on its size, pickled fish may be used to make everything from chili sauce to fried, steamed, or even burnt meals. Fermented fish sauce, a crucial condiment in Isaan cooking, is made by bringing fermented fish and water to a boil and then filtering off the water. Som Tum is the most well-known recipe that calls for fermented fish. To distinguish it from Som Tum Thai, which is made with dried shrimp, Som Tum with fermented fish is called som tum pu pla ra or Som Tum with fermented fish.

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