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Goong Ten: the Dancing Shrimp of Thailand

2 min read

In the Northeast Thailand region of Isaan along the Mekong River, local cooks often serve meat raw, doused in a spicy, salty, sour marinade of chili, fish sauce, and lime.
People in this region have an affair with things that are prepared raw: beef, pork, shrimp, fish, and other meats that are cooked elsewhere in the world, here can be found in their naturally squirming or bloody form.
However, street vendors sometimes take the uncooked element one step further, selling a dish known as Goong Ten ( กุ้งเต้น ), which translates to dancing shrimp, from traditional double basket carrying carts.
On one side, the arrangement of spices and herbs await while, on the other, a heap of cute little translucent shrimp that try in vain to escape, hammocked in a cloth so they remain alive.

To prepare this delicacy, vendors cover the wriggling shrimp in a marinade of lime juice, fish sauce, and ground chili mixed with fresh mint leaves, lemongrass, and sliced shallots.
Eaters often enjoy the seasoned shrimp with a side of sticky rice, a traditional dish of Northeastern Thai cuisine.
And, if you are might be anxious about eating a still-moving snack, you can opt to eat each bite swathed in a betel leaf that conveniently prevents diners from accidentally making eye contact with their meal.
But, if your curiosity get the better of you, however, a standard serving offers dozens of creatures you can stare down before eating alive!

Author’s notes: although Thai street food in Bangkok comes with overwhelming supply, dancing shrimp can be challenging to locate, as the dish is not normally served at restaurants but it must be purchased to-go and eaten along the side of the street or in a local market.

Images from web – Google Research

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