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Chef Tips: What to know when buying seafood for Thai cuisine

Updated: Apr 24

In the culinary realm, few things rival the freshness and flavour of well-prepared seafood. Thai cuisine in particular, uses a variety of seafood in its curries, salads and stir-fries. However, there are a range of factors to consider to ensure you're getting the best catch. From freshness to sustainability, navigating the seafood market can be a bit daunting. In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into the things to consider when buying seafood, to ensure that every dish is stunning.


Prawns Pad Thai at Fireback.
 

Image from Freepik.

Freshness is Key

Freshness is paramount when it comes to choosing seafood. Here's how to ensure you're getting the freshest catch:

 

Appearance - The freshest seafood will have a firm, shiny flesh and bright, clear eyes. Freshness is evident in vibrant colors, so avoid seafood that shows any signs of discoloration or dullness.

 

Smell - Fresh seafood should have a clean, briny scent of the sea. Any strong, fishy odor indicates spoilage.

 

Texture - Press the flesh gently. It should bounce back and feel firm to the touch. A spongy texture or one where your finger indents stay on the flesh are things to stay away from.

 

Local and Seasonal - Choose seafood that is locally sourced and in season. This ensures freshness but also reduces the risk of spoilage and minimizes the environmental footprint associated with transportation.


 

Image from Pinterest.

Seafood Selection

Source - Seek out reputable fishmongers or local seafood markets that are known for their seafood quality and freshness of produce.

 

Ask Questions - Enquire about sourcing methods, freshness, and sustainability practices while choosing seafood which makes you better equipped to make the right choices.

 

Sustainable Practice - With overfishing being a serious environmental concern, choose sustainable seafood with eco-certifications that guarantee responsible fishing or farming practices.


 

Crispy Squid, Golden Garlic, Black Peppercorn at Fireback.

Seafood in Thai cuisine

Whether it is prawns, fish, octopus or squid, seafood is a mainstay in Thai cuisine. Fish varieties like sea bass or tilapia lend an authentic touch, also adding versatility to the dishes.


Aromatic Thai herbs like lemongrass, galangal, and Thai basil, along with fiery chili peppers and pungent fish sauce bring about the perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors characteristic of Thai cuisine. Further, the cooking techniques of high-heat stir-frying, grilling, and steaming used in authentic Thai cuisine are ideal to preserve the delicate texture and flavors of seafood.


 

Mastering the art of buying seafood is the first step toward creating authentic Thai dishes bursting with flavor and freshness. By prioritizing freshness, embracing Thai seafood staples, and supporting sustainability, you'll be well on your way to making your dishes truly fabulous.

 

So, the next time you embark on a seafood shopping spree, remember these tips to reel in the freshest and most sustainable catch of the day.

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