Tha Sala Seafood Restaurant Thai Style Seafood By the River
The abundance of freshwater seafood in the Sala Bay is clear in the local’s popularity of eating Tha Sala Seafood by the riverside in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
The second time I ate by the river was on a warm, bright mid-day in Tha Sala District. We had gone sightseeing that morning and were famished as our van rolled up to the restaurant.
Even on a weekday; lunch at the seafood restaurants is always busy and packed with locals. There were no other tourists apart from our small group.
We had called for reservations earlier could get a table by the river next to the floating fish cages. The sweet shrimp aroma grilling on hot coals greeted us.
A Perfect Seafood Lunch at Tha Sala District
Our day is perfect. Clear blue skies above, cool breeze skimming over the almost still surface of the river. The water flow is gentle yet strong and dances at the floating cages where the fish is farmed.
The waiters are friendly and efficient. As the restaurant was packed, we had to wait awhile for our food. We chatted and downed huge coconuts full of water, slurping the sweet soft fragrant flesh in anticipation of a good seafood lunch.
Tha Sala Thai Floating Restaurant
In Thailand, you will find many floating restaurants and eateries perched on old wooden piers serving delicious seafood meals. The locals have got eating by the River down pat.
Their formula is easy. The freshest catch. Fast and simple cooking methods. Local herbs. And an all-star piquant dipping sauce.
They served us two types of dipping sauces before our seafood was ready.
Our eyes widen.
Thai seafood dipping sauce is delicious and not that hard to replicate the spicy and sour flavors at home.
Fragrant Thai limes make a big difference, it doesn’t just provide the tart acidity to balance the fish sauce and palm sugar. It perfumes the sauce which has garlic, cilantro, cashew nuts, green chilies, raw sliced onions, and roasted aubergines!
The smell of fragrant limes is such an appetite opener.
Some prefer the sauce to be very bold, with no sugar at all. But I prefer a more rounded taste with the balance of salty fish sauce, palm sugar with the added heat from pounded bird’s eyes chillis, cilantro roots, and garlic.
The other sauce was a mix of rough-cut raw onions, bird’s eye chillis, palm sugar, and fish sauce. So it was easy to guess our pick initially. But we found out that the pairing of sauces was equally good. Eventually, we got so caught up in eating. We mix everything up and dunk our choice seafood in both sauces.
The seating is very casual, wooden tables, white plastic chairs under a zinc roof with a simple wooden railing at the edge to prevent falling into the river.
Eating Fresh Crabs at Tha Sala Seafood Restaurant
They steamed the first dish on for lunch fresh crabs with juicy, meaty, rich white flesh that is intoxicating sweet tasting. Good crabs have no fishy smell at all and are addictive.
We grab a crab each, break the edible body meat into two, sucking at the golden roe that spills out of the body. With the crab’s limbs set aside, we began to crack the legs and the claws and used a skewer to pry open and pick out the clawed flesh.
No conversation is necessary when eating crabs. We were all happily greedy and ate with gusto.
Next on the menu was Barbequed Sea clams with accompanying green chili, garlicky lime sauce with was deceptively mild-looking but sharp and screaming hot!
The pièce de résistance was the cooked whole river fish baked in foil, so worth waiting for. The fish was fresh, with sweet firm white flesh.
It was a satisfying high protein; low carb lunch and we drank copious glasses freshly squeezed orange juice and coconut water.
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