Ricefield shrimps for food

Freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium lanchesteri), also called ‘Ricefield shrimps’ or ‘Goong foi’ in Thai language, are living in every permanent water body in Thailand in big numbers. They are the main food source for a variety of fish and other predators, one of them is men.

Ricefield shrimps are caught by local people with a variety of fishing implements. The two most important ones – hand netting and lifting nets – will be discussed at this blog series. After catching, the Goong foi are kept in a pot of water until used.

Preparation of live freshwater prawns

Typical Isan-food (Isan is the north-eastern part of Thailand) are so-called ‘Goong Ten’ or ‘Dancing shrimps’. Its simple, but highly tasty food: steamed rice, topped by fresh and alive Macrobrachium lanchesteri. And in addition further augmented by lemon grass, chili, fish sauce, pounded roasted rice and mint leaves.

Only small setback are those long shrimp feelers, which are tickling the palate, when the shrimps are jumping around in the mouth. But: no hard feelings – this dish tastes great!

Lessons learned on eating live freshwater prawns

  • Start biting as soon as Goog foi’s enter your mouth
  • Eat this dish at roadside stalls or restaurant shacks. There you will get the best and freshest ingredients and where the food was not distorted in its taste for foreigners.