How would you keep your food from spoiling for a long time if you didn’t have a refrigerator? One trick is to dry it. In Laos, people sometimes catch a lot of fish at one time – more than they can eat before it goes bad. This often happens in the rainy season, between May and October, when many fish migrate in big groups. Fishers may catch hundreds of little fish at one time (like the boat full of fish in this photo)! Before refrigerators were available, people learned to preserve fish by fermenting it into fish sauce (called padek) or drying it.
It’s quite common to see dried fish for sale in Laos. Stan and Erin discovered dried fish by the brick-load at the market! The fish have unusual shape because people cut them in half down the length of their body and open them up like a book. You can sometimes see ropes of dried fish strung up for sale by the side of the road.
Have you ever eaten dried fish? Do you eat any other kinds of dried foods?