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Goong Ten (Dancing Shrimp Salad). Photo: Localiiz

In the Northeast Thailand region of Isaan, cooks often serve meat raw, doused in a spicy, salty, sour marinade of chili, fish sauce, and lime.

Street vendors sometimes take the uncooked element one step further, selling a dish known as “dancing shrimp” (Goong ten) from double-basket carts. On one side, seasonings await. On the other, a heap of small, translucent shrimp try in vain to escape from beneath a cloth. These shrimp “dance” in the same way Japanese dancing ice fish do, in that they’re eaten alive.

What is Goong ten?

Goong Ten (Dancing Shrimp Salad) is a popular dish in Northeast Thailand and Laos. It is fresh raw shrimp in a spicy sauce with fresh herbs. Goong Ten is a street food that can be found at E-san restaurants or in fresh markets. Goong Ten is still not accepted by some people because this dish is eaten while the shrimp are still alive. Nowadays, most people freeze the shrimp on ice or put them in cold water before preparing them.

How to make Goong ten?


1 cup of live freshwater shrimp

3 Chopped shallots

3 tablespoons of sliced lemongrass

1 tablespoon of sliced chilis

2 tablespoons of sliced fresh coriander

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 tablespoon of lime juice

Peppermint leaves are optional


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To prevent the shrimp from escaping the dish preparation, the vendor had to cover the bowl with a plastic bag. Photo: Migrationology

1. Clean freshwater shrimp well.

2. Put the shrimp in cold water for 5 minutes or until they stop moving. Drain dry and set aside.

3. Make the spicy sauce by mixing the fish sauce, sugar, chili, and lime juice together.

Test and flavor it as desired. Add more chili for a more spicy taste or add more lime for a more sour taste.

4. Shake the shrimp with the spicy sauce in a bag and mix it well.

5. Serve with some peppermint leaves and coriander.

Enjoy Goong ten, diners need more courage. Goong ten is served with white sticky rice or wrapped in a lettuce leaf. Goong ten is sold right on the sidewalk or in the popular market in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. The taste of the salad may differ slightly by region, according to Viaje Asean.

Mark Wiens, a Chinese-American culinary blogger, has the opportunity to enjoy Goong ten on his Bangkok trip. "The first piece delighted me with a strange taste. Each shrimp imbued with a salty taste, combined with the opposite flavors of spices and herbs, very special," Mark talked about one of his favorite dishes.

In Bangkok, dancing shrimp are almost exclusively sold from traditional double basket carrying carts. One side is filled with the arrangement of spices and herbs while the other side shelters the precious shrimp, hammocked in a cloth so they remain alive and can’t escape.

The vendor quickly took to action, putting a double scoop of the freshwater shrimp into a metal mixing bowl. Separated from the lump grave of the other shrimp, the ones in the metal bowl came to life and started dancing their hearts out.

To prevent the shrimp from escaping the dish preparation, the vendor had to cover the bowl with a plastic bag. I could still hear the sound of metal being tapped, the ricocheting of energetic shrimp jumping around in search of an escape route.

For more weirdest foods and dishes from around the world, please check out our KnowInsider!

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