They there! Can you smell that shrimp paste?
By just looking at the photos, you would probably don’t feel it. If you see it in person like one American friend just did, you would probably exclaim the same thing ‘What the hell is that?‘. It smells like sea, it smells fishy, and for some people (most of them), they think it smells unpleasant. However, I like Kapi (กะปิ)! or in English would be ‘shrimp paste‘.
This shrimp paste is fermented condiment commonly used in Thailand. We make it as chili sauce, mango dips, ingredient in stir fries and many more. In addition, according to wikipedia, it’s also used in most meals in other Asian countries like, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Whoa! It must be that good!
How to make Kapi
Same as you, this is my first time ever experiencing the process of making Kapi or shrimp paste. It’s when we were strolling around Koh Phitak, Chumphon down south of Thailand, we came across this fisherman’s family. This man was smashing on something in front of their house.
‘What are you guys doing?’
‘Kapi (Shrimp paste)’
Dang!! Never before in life and I was excited to see! I knew it’s made from finely crushed shrimp or krill mixed with salt, and then fermented for several weeks but this is literally my first time seeing with my own eyes and hey! It’s homemade! By fishermen!!
The family catch all the little shrimps themselves, mix them with salt, crush them in that big wooden bowl and sun-dry them. Do like that again and again several times. Bamn! Become delicious smelly shrimp paste just like that!
How bad could the smell be?
Imagine seafood that goes bad.. but a bit of a salty smell to it as salt added! Well, not sure. Probably not that bad as it’s fine for me. Most of the people just don’t like it.
On the way back to Chumphon mainland, I grabbed a few of them from the pier home. Half a kilo for 50THB($1.60). That amount, you could use it for months!
In conclusion, not so often you would find something like this.. Like, really not! Totally a unique experience to see locals people make it at home just right by their house. On the beach also actually! All the houses on Koh Phitak(เกาะพิทักษ์) are right on the beach. Soooo fishermanny. If you have a chance to go visit Chumphon, do check this island out! So fun, so cool!
Address : Bang Nam Chuet, Lang Suan District, Chumphon
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All copy and photos are original content by me.