As reported by the BBC, natives of Isan — located on the Khorat plateau in northeast Thailand — have a popular dish called Koi Pla Khai Mod Dang (Spicy Fish Salad with Ant Eggs), made of chopped raw fish mixed by hand with local herbs, lime juice and live red ants.
For decades, locals have reported abnormally high rates of liver cancer. Researchers have made a link between the prevalence in cancer rates and liver flukes, a kind of parasite, found in raw fish. In some communities up to 80% of people were inflected by the fluke.
Within the past decades, efforts have successfully been underway to educate the public of the potential hazards of consuming the raw version of Koi Pla and getting people to use proper sanitation which reduces the number of fluke eggs.
Should you feel adventurous, below you’ll find a recipe for a Thai fish salad made with tilapia blanched in a bath of lemongrass.
- tilapia fillet
- birds eye chilies
- roasted rice powder
- fish sauce or fermented fish sauce
- lime juice
- spring onion
- coriander leaves
- mint leaves
- Traditional Thai Recipes (khiewchanta.com)