Hand-caught river mussels


The feast

Pictured here are a bunch of river mussels (hoi malaeng puu [หอยแมลงภู่]) that I (yep, me!) and a few others actually caught ourselves. Up in Isaan (between Korat and Buriram), the Northeast area of Thailand we just swam in the river, digging them out of the mud with our bare hands. Mussels are fairly common in Thailand, but I had never caught them myself, so this was great fun, especially since we had been drinking. We just dived under the water and grabbed three or four mussels at a time. After we had gathered a big bucketful, which took no time at all since they were all over the place, it was time to prepare them.

We cleaned them and steamed them in a bamboo basket. Somebody whipped up a spicy dipping sauce, as Thai’s are experts at doing so for any occasion. Then we sat down and feasted. As tasty as they were, and as well as we cleaned and cooked them, my stomach just wasn’t used to these local foods. I got very ill within two hours, but was fine by the next morning. Besides that, this was a great experience.


Digging in


The leftovers

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