Dreaming of Plara

It was not long ago that I realised that the Swedish like to eat fermented fish like Thai people. It is called Surströmming, and it is sold in a can. It is said to have a rather unpleasantly strong smell, but I guarantee that this Swedish nosh is not going to be as rancid as Thai fermented fish, also known as Plara which is contained in a jar.

Plara or what the Thai north-easterners call Padaek is fermented fish and a local delicacy eaten mainly by the people who live in the north-easten part of Thailand. It is made from small fish, preferably river fish, mixed with very tiny grains of rice bran and salt. As far as quality is concerned, it is supposed to be kept in a jar for between one and three months before it is ok for consumption; although the best Plara could be in a jar for up to twelve months. A good Plara must have a pleasantly rancid smell and the colour of the fish ought to be soft pink. The fish also should not be too hard or easily friable. Historically, this smelly chow has been produced for roughly four thousand years, according to a jar-like artefact that was discovered around the area.

I am thinking of bringing Plara to Sweden. I wonder how the people of this Scandinavian nation would react to my offer. I hope that they would take advantage of my generosity, instead of eating the same old Surströmming in a tiny little tin.


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