Prahok is the soul food of Cambodia. It’s fermented fish (some would say rotted). Eat it straight, add a dab for seasoning, or put some in a bag and let the flavor leach out into whatever you’re cooking. Japanese have fermented soybeans (natto), Koreans have fermented cabbage (kimchi), but Cambodian are the only ones who dare to keep fish for three months outside a refrigerator and then eat it. You gotta love that.
I just read an article about prahok by author Karen Coates on Faster Times. She laments that some Cambodians who have made it (money) are giving up prahok, as if it’s beneath their rising status. The smell reminds them of worse times. Prahok wreaks, famously so, but that’s no reason to give up a good thing. I can vouch that my neighbors are keeping the faith, and in style. They gather annually to make a year’s supply of prahok, and have a great time. These photos, from earlier this week, will take you through step one: cleaning the fish to prepare it for salting and aging.
It all begins here
Followed by lots of mashing and rinsing
Dress appropriately and enjoy the process
You can’t …