Thais use a number of different seasoning sauces in cooking, especially in stir-fried dishes. One of the most basic and universally used sauces is soy sauce. In their development of the humble fermented soy beans, Thais have gone well beyond their Asian neighbours. Soy sauce - see-eew in Thai - in Thailand is like vinegar in European cooking, in its variety.
When wandering through one of the suburban weekend markets on the outskirts of Chiang Mai one day, I came across more than one vendor selling fermented fish (pla rah). I had heard about this concoction for many years, but had never seen it. This 'ancestor' of the commonly used fish sauce is not for the feint of heart. David Thompson calls it “an evil thing, leering out from its murky distant past.”