Aunty Uan’s Kulao fish in great demand after Michelin-starred chef adds it to gala menu
A shop selling salted Kulao fish in Narathiwat’s Tak Bai district said orders have been piling in since the fish was added to the Apec gala dinner menu.
Owner of the Pa Uan Takbai shop said she usually sold just about a kilo of Kulao fish daily via Facebook, but since it had been added to the “Sustainable Thai Gastronomy” menu for the gala, her shop has been receiving orders for more than 10kg a day.
The gala dinner for Apec leaders will be held on Thursday at the riverside Royal Thai Navy Convention Hall.
The shop, which sells salted fish at 1,700 baht per kilo, suddenly became famous thanks to an inquisitive Thai PBS TV reporter.
After the chef in charge of the gala dinner announced he had added Tak Bai’s famous Kulao salted fish to his menu, the reporter went down South to talk to several communities that make the fish.
However, they all denied being contacted by the chef or receiving any orders from the government.
The reporter then declared on television that the chef in charge – Chef Chumpol Jangprai – had obviously sourced the fish from somewhere else, not Tak Bai as claimed.
Chumpol, who owns the Michelin-starred R-Haan restaurant, responded to the allegation by saying the fish had come from Pa Uan’s shop.
The shop also confirmed on its Facebook page on Monday that it had received an order for one salted Kulao fish online, and did not know it was from the government.
The owner explained that her shop possibly received the order because it met five-star quality standards and had won the Otop Production Champion stamp.
Deputy government spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek also confirmed on Monday that the fish had been bought from the Pa Uan Takbai shop.
On Tuesday morning, the shop owner posted a message on Facebook apologising for not being able to keep up with the orders.
“Our fish has to dry gradually over several days, and there is not enough fish to cover hundreds of orders at the same time. So, we are using the ‘pre-order’ technique. Please specify what size and quantity of fish you require, and we will try to reply to your message as soon as possible,” the post read.