Authentic Thai Grilled Fish Recipe (Pla Pao ปลาเผา) – Thai Recipes

Authentic Thai Grilled Fish Recipe (Pla Pao ปลาเผา) - Thai Recipes
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Get all the details for this Thai grilled fish street food recipe (pla pao ปลาเผา) right here:

One of my favorite ways to eat a whole fish is by grilling it the Thai way. On the streets of Thailand you’ll find pla pao (ปลาเผา), or Thai grilled / roasted fish, all over the places. It’s a common meal, and especially goes well with a plate of som tam (green papaya salad) and a couple of baskets of fresh sticky rice.

For this Thai grilled fish recipe (pla pao ปลาเผา), I made the two most common types of fish which you’ll find on the streets of Thailand: a a red hybrid tilapia known in Thai as pla tabtim (ปลาทับทิม), and a snakehead fish known as a pla chon (ปลาช่อน). Both of them are common and widely found in Thailand, but most of the time, and especially when I make it myself, I overall prefer the pla tabtim. In the US when I went to the Asian supermarket, I also found both of these fish available, so hopefully you’ll be able to find them wherever you are. You could also substitute this recipe for other types of firm whole fish.

If you buy your fish from the butcher, you should try to have them (or you can do it back at home) remove the gills and guts from the gills, and not cut open the belly – that way you can stuff the fish with the extra ingredients without everything falling out the bottom of the fish. Another tip for this recipe is that if you can keep the fish with the scales on, that’s better for the grilling process. So keep the scales on

Along with the fish itself, one of the most important components of a Thai pla pao is the seafood sauce, which in Thai is known as nam jim seafood. The sauce is pretty simple to make, but it has so much incredible flavor from the garlic, chilies, and fish sauce.

For the fish
2 whole fish (also 1 fish works fine, just reduce ingredients)
½ kilo of salt (big grain if possible)
2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
About 1 tablespoon of water
4 – 6 stalks lemongrass
small handful of kaffir lime leaves

For the sauce seafood
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
15 cloves of garlic
20 Thai bird chilies (prik kee noo suan พริกขี้หนูสวน)

This Thai grilled fish street food recipe (pla pao ปลาเผา) should take about 15 or 20 minutes to get everything ready, and then it will need to be on the grill cooking for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how hot your fire is, and how big your fish are.

Enjoy this Thai street food recipe, and let me know how yours turns out!

Music in this video courtesy of Audio Network.

Check out my full Thai pad see ew recipe for further ingredients and instructions:
Authentic Thai recipes:
Free Thai street food guide:
Eating Thai Food Guide:
Bangkok 101 Guide:
Thank you so much for watching this food and travel video by Mark Wiens. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss my next tasty adventure. You can subscribe right here:


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About the Author: Mark Wiens


  1. Hi mark I just had this fish at Radchada nightmkt Bkk & Just fell in love with it. I was dying to know the green sauce ,thanks for sharing. Love you for it.

  2. I live in Nebraska, no street food but at least we have Asian markets now. I love watching these videos. I catch fish but had grown tired of frying them. I have made Thai fish cakes (students put me on to them), they are delicious. Then I discovered this grilled fish. This is my favorite way to prepare fish now. Catfish seems to be the easiest fish go catch in the right size range but they are long, so I bought another grill just for preparing fish this way. The experience of eating fish this way was like the first time I tasted a Vietnamese rice paper spring roll, I felt like Popeye opening a can of spinach. In both cases it is the sauce that puts the experience over the top. Keep the videos coming, even though I don't get to eat street food at least I can track down how to make things that look good. To me Asian and other ethnic Markets are one thing that has improved life in Nebraska, now if they would just legalize street food in my city.

  3. hahaha at the beginning of your videos i really have to say that i hated you for your mimics. But after a while i realized you are really deep in the love with thai food. I also love thai food really much and exactly the same way like you love it. I also love these explosions of different flavours and all Isaan food. In my opinion youre grilled pla pao looks amazing! Dont stop with your videos. in my opinion they are really professional and show people the real, authentic side of Thailand. youre doing a really great job! Respect Marc!

  4. Thank you so much for your work Mark! It's really inspiring and makes the world a better place each time I watch your videos!

  5. I've just made this dish with some local fish, and it was really delicious especially that sauce. Thank you for the recipe.

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