Vincent made contact with this blog with a comment on "Lao Salad Dressing" as posted advising us of the lack of traditional authenticity and an example recipe showing the commonly used dressing. In this formulation was reference to Pa Daek and reference was made to its familiarisation by western palates. In this note Vincent has taken an extract from his book (Lao Cooking and The Essence of Life) to further describe the process and aspects of the "condiment". Please enjoy the following description for a bit of insight into Pa Daek, and of course, thank you once again Vincent

"Well, that’s what it is - THE Lao condiment for about any food preparation. It is much more pungent than fish sauce with big chunks of fish floating around in a brown liquid. There are three varieties :


Salty-Pa Daek
All Rights Reserved © Vincent Vernon Fischer (used with kind offering)
Recipe for Padaek/Pla Ra on site



Salty & Sour-Pa Chao
All Rights Reserved © Vincent Vernon Fischer (used with kind offering)




Sour-Pa Som
All Rights Reserved © Vincent Vernon Fischer (used with kind offering)
Recipe for Pa Som on site



Westerners call it Rotten Fish. How come when they ferment something, Asians rot it? This is definitely an acquired taste. You are excused if you don’t like it but you will miss out on the peculiar flavour of this indigenous Lao ingredient. It is widely used in Laos and northeastern Thailand (Esan) in the preparation of laab, tam mak / som tam, yam and other local favourites.

Like Thai fish sauce (nam pla) it is produced by way of fermentation but has a much stronger fish flavour. Unlike nam pla it is made from fresh water fish and thus it is the cause for serious wide spread liver fluke diseases in the region.
To easily make it safe for eating, bring to boil and simmer for twenty minutes, which will destroy any harmful bacteria."


Thank you Vincent for contacting me with this gem.
 
Vincent Fischer-Zernin.  Author Lao Cooking and The Essence of Life