It’s Fall, and the first semester of this school year is drawing to a close. Sadly, this means that one of my roommates/co-teachers/friends Nicole is leaving. So lately, we’ve been getting real adventurous in Dan Chang, trying all the things that she always said she wanted to try before she leaves. One of her spicier ideas recently was buying a frog from the market and cooking it for dinner.
Roommate ~selfie~ at a recent school function.
My immediate reaction to this was “Absofreakinglutely not.” I wouldn’t try frog in the US, why would I try it in a country that is much more laissez-faire about its health codes and laws? But she seemed pretty excited about it, plus I’ve been trying to branch out of my food-comfort zone lately(a fairly wide zone to get out of) so I agreed to it. So at the weekly Monday market, we went frog hunting.
Frog, or Kob in Thai, is actually considered a delicacy in Thailand, at least according to the internet. I see them at the market all the time, usually laid out on their backs with their organs sitting on their bellies. Once, right after it rained, I even saw a big bucket full of them, hopping around underneath a little net that kept them at bay.
At first we went to the regular market in Dan Chang, to the live fish section where we buy our fish. Here they had a bucket of LIVE frogs piled on top of each other. We stood in front of the table and debated for a minute; as personally I don’t think I had it in my to watch the vendor kill the frog and bag it up for us in the same manner that they kill our fish. Since I had seen them already dead and dressed at Monday market, we decided to wait and get it there.
Getting our red snapper killed & cut on the spot. Fresh to death.
At Monday market, the same little frogs I see every week were ready for the occasion, posed on their backs with their organs out for all to see. After again debating for a minute, we told the vendor we wanted one. To our luck, she offered to dress it with chili paste. We didn’t really know what we were agreeing to because this was all in Thai, but before we knew it she was making us a nice little frog and green papaya salad, and bagging it up to-go, all for a mere 70 baht($2US).
After mentally preparing to clean and cook a whole frog, this was quite a relief. But of course, there was a catch – not realizing how repulsed us foreigners are by organs, she had thrown the whole frog in the salad and chopped it up. Except for the head; I’m unsure if that made it into the mix. Upon later inspection no eyeballs or froggy mouth was found, so I think the head didn’t make the cut(ba dum chhhh), thank Buddha.
So we bought a salted fish and some veggies to supplement our meal, and my roommates and I headed home to try the frog. The green papaya salad the little vendor had prepared it in was AMAZING. It was full of mango and chili paste and lime juice and some other deliciousness, and it was complemented by little chunks of frog. Although eating around the gross skin and other parts was quite a minefield; especially since the intestines really blended in with everything else.
As for actually eating the frog – I gingerly picked out a leg and took a bite. It was actually REALLY good – like chicken(just as everyone says) but a lot more tender. I think the whole salad would’ve been really good to eat if it wasn’t for the minefield of organs and skin, and the occasional whole foot.
Overall, the meal was a success. I would highly recommend trying frog, as it’s actually really good, ESPECIALLY in this delicious green papaya salad. But next time I’m chopping up the frog myself to ensure that no organs get in the mix; I’m not that adventurous(yet).
Side note – the salted fish we got was also AMAZING. So tender and juicy, and it came with some really good sauces that actually reminded me of green salsa from home. I’ve seen it roasting on a spit every week at Monday market and am super happy that we finally decided to try it. I also had it again at a school function recently, where I learned that you’re supposed to peel back the salty skin in one fell swoop to get to the meat. Just a heads up if you ever get the opportunity to try it.