Authentic Thai Fish Cakes Recipe You Need to Know

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Authentic Thai Fish Cakes

These authentic Thai fish cakes are super quick and easy to make. No need waiting to have these when you go to a Thai restaurant! Once your family and friends taste them they will think you are an expert Thai cook. And why not? Mildly warm spices and Thai ingredients deliver superb Thai-style fish cakes.

Together with a cucumber sauce, this appetizer provides a lovely balance between those important Thai concepts of salty, spicy, sweet and sour to make perfect Thai fish cakes.

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It is worth sourcing the all-important Thai ingredients to achieve the authentic taste of this Thai fish cake recipe. The rest is easy! Find yourself an Asian grocer and you will be able to buy all of these ingredients. Trust me they are worth it! Or order them online. You will fall in love with this authentic Thai fish cake recipe!

We also take a look at Chiang Mai street food, a great place to find a Thai fish recipe among many other wonderful Thai meals. It’s incredibly cheap and the sheer variety of choice is mind-blowing to me. Read on for how you can eat for as little as $1 USD in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai Street Food

Last week we featured another classic appetizer, beef wrapped in betel nut. I also took some time out in that post to write about the joys of street food in Bangkok. Today we turn our attention to Chiang Mai.

A Foodies Guide to the Best of Thailand

Is the street food here as good as Bangkok’s? In a nutshell, it is even better and it is incredibly cheap if you want to keep to a budget. We generally spent between $1 to $3 (USD). Incredible isn’t it? The sheer range of Thai food available is fantastic.

There are a number of areas around the old town where you will find large street food stations. The Chang Puek Gate, the Chiang Mai Gate, and any of the markets are all great choices.

You can expect to find food from the nearby hill tribes where there is more slow-cooked food, and it’s a little different to what’s served in Bangkok. Some great choices are:

  • Spicy soup from Isaan
  • Coconut milk curry with rice noodles
  • Soy sauce pork
  • Catfish (cooked in a variety of ways)
  • Hainan chicken and rice (strong Chinese influence)
  • Grilled pork (always eaten with sticky rice)
  • Thai basil chicken with fried egg (this is a classic)
  • Stir -fried morning glory (also known as water spinach, Chiang Mai’s favorite green veggie)
  • Northern curry noodles
  • Chicken curries done in a variety of sauces
  • Coconut rice dumplings
  • Mango with sticky rice
  • and of course authentic Thai fish cakes

The thing I most love about eating street food in Chiang Mai is that you mix with the locals and other tourists. It is very communal and there is no shortage of people in good spirits. A high proportion of people living in Chiang Mai are university students. They are well behaved and most have very good English skills so it is easy to have a conversation with them.

You Need to Know How to Make Authentic Thai Fish Cakes 1

Water and ice are provided free and in Chiang Mai, it is apparently safe. You do have the choice to buy bottled water, which is what we did and what we would recommend. We ate on the streets numerous times and personally, I enjoyed it more than our restaurant visits as the atmosphere was better and the food was just as good.

The quality of the food is very good and you should relax about eating on the street. The vendors cannot afford to sell poor or low-quality food as they will soon be out of business. Tipping is not expected and English is generally understood. If not, a local will help you out.

Would you like to try the street food but still feel a little uneasy about it or are not sure what to choose? Then why not take part in a Chiang Mai Street Food Tour?

We took one when we first arrived. It is a great way to learn about local cuisine in Chiang Mai and northern Thailand. You learn some of the Thai words associated with food and you will have plenty of different tastings along the way at multiple street food markets. Definitely, go hungry! They pick you up and drop you back at your accommodation. Once you experience this you, won’t be able to stop yourself from returning.

Authentic Thai Fish Cakes

One of the dishes you will likely have on the street of Chaing Mai is authentic Thai fish cakes. It is a common appetizer exported all over the world by Thai-operated restaurants. They are a sublime appetizer and, in my view, are the best fish cakes you will ever taste. The Asian fish cake recipe is one of the best!

Red curry paste is an important ingredient in making our fish patties taste just like Thai fish cakes authentically made in Asia. Not only can you then make these but you also have the base for making the superb Thai red curry (with fish, beef, chicken, pork – or make it vegetarian).

Other Asian Dishes with Some Spice

Looking for some more spicy foods and something different from Thai fried fish cakes? If so, you might also enjoy these authentic Thai recipes:

Ema Datshi, the national dish of Bhutan, might just be the be best cheese chili dish you will ever taste.

Fish Amok. is the national dish of Cambodia. Our most popular curry on Compass & Fork is toned down with a creamy curry-based sauce.

If you enjoy, red curry paste, then you are sure to enjoy green curry paste. It is the foundation for chicken with green curry.You can find more great, Thai recipes here.

Don’t overlook Asian salads. Although spicy, they are surprisingly refreshing and are brilliant in a warm climate. Try chicken larb from Laos or the green papaya salad from Vietnam.

Free Asian Cooking Essentials Guide

Want more information on Asian Cooking Ingredients? Our detailed guide covers most of the ingredients you will ever need to cook Vietnamese or Thai food. Become a subscriber and also gain free access to shopping lists for both Thailand and Vietnam so you can cook along with our recipes or just to have the basics so you can enjoy cooking these 2 great cuisines.

Authentic Thai Fish Cakes

Authentic Thai Fish Cakes

Authentic Thai Fish Cake Recipe

Let’s jump right into how to make Thai fish cakes!

Using authentic ingredients, these fried, curried Thai fish patties are served with a refreshing cucumber sauce. Make your own and have people raving how good it is and how your Thai fish cakes burst with authentic flavor.

You will need a blender/food processor (better) or mortar and pestle. We use coconut oil but you can substitute to make an amazing sauce with your Asian fish cakes.

Authentic Thai Fish Cakes
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Authentic Thai Fish Cakes
Print Recipe
Using authentic ingredients, these fried, curried Thai fish patties are served with a refreshing cucumber sauce. Make your own and have people raving how good it is and how your Thai fish cakes burst with authentic flavor. You will need a blender/food processor (better) or mortar and pestle. We use coconut oil but you can substitute to make an amazing sauce with your Asian fish cakes.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4people 15minutes 12minutes
Servings Prep Time
4people 15minutes
Cook Time
Servings: people
Servings: people
Cucumber Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the vinegar and sugar (do not boil). Stir until thick and well combined. Put aside and allow to cool. Add the cucumber, chili powder and peanuts and stir to combine. Place in a serving bowl and refrigerate until needed. Add the cilantro leaves as a garnish when serving.
Fish Cakes
  1. Mix all the ingredients, except the cup of oil, until they are well combined.
  2. Press small handfuls of the fish mixture into small discs. Wetting your hands with water will make this easier.
  3. Heat the oil over medium low heat. Place the fish cakes into the hot oil and cook until golden brown, turning once. This should take about 3 minutes. I usually cook in 3 or 4 batches.
  4. As the fish cakes are cooked, drain on paper towel. Serve with the cucumber sauce.Authentic Thai Fish Cakes
Recipe Notes

* These items are described in more detail with our free, Asian Cooking Essentials Guide.

22 Responses

  1. Penny Bowman
    | Reply

    I love Tod Mon and this recipe looks authentic. Do I need a meat grinder for the fish or just chop it up fine? Thanks so much!

    • Compass & Fork

      You can put it in the blender on chop or mince it if you have a grinder.

  2. Rebekah | Kitchen Gidget
    | Reply

    I have to show my husband this! He’s going to Thailand next month. In the meantime, I’ll make myself fish cakes at home 🙂

    • Editor

      Rebekah, Have a look around the site. There is a lot of Thai information. And you can get him in the mood before he goes with the Thai fish cakes.

  3. Brian Jones
    | Reply

    I love Thai fish cakes, your recipe sounds fabulous!

    • Editor

      Brian, I think they must be one of the most common items ordered in a Thai restaurant. This recipe makes a very good version!

  4. Kavey
    | Reply

    I’ve not enjoyed these on the streets of Thailand but I do love them in Thai restaurants and these look really good.

    • Editor

      Kavey, they are the best. I love the texture of the leaf itself. So different. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Valentina
    | Reply

    I am now craving these fish cakes! What a super delicious blend of ingredients!

    • Editor

      Valentina, You will just have to make them then! 🙂

  6. Michelle
    | Reply

    These look sooooo good! They’ll probably make me branch out from my normal “pad thai” only habit 😉

    • Editor

      Michelle, Pad thai is pretty good too 🙂 And if you can make that, you can definitely make curry paste!

  7. Mrs Minty Cream
    | Reply

    Wow! Love this! Thai fishcake is like a must-order item whenever we visit a Thai restaurant. Would love to be able to make this at home too!

    • Editor

      Yes we always order the at the restaurant as well. I was surprised how wasy they were to make at home and I think they might even taste better!

  8. Sam | Ahead of Thyme
    | Reply

    That looks amazing and love your background story on the Thai food culture!

    • Editor

      Sam, One of the joys of discovering new foods is learning about them. We all eat, and there are just some amazing things out there!

  9. Christine | Vermilion Roots
    | Reply

    Your posts are making me homesick for Southeast Asian food. Thanks for sharing recipes I can recreate easily at home. 🙂

    • Editor

      Christine, I could see how you would be homesick for the food! Hope you enjoy the recipes. You can find Vietnam on the site as well and Laos and Cambodia are coming in the not too distant future.

  10. Whitney
    | Reply

    This was a fun post to read. I always like looking at vendors from different countries. You’ve made these fish cakes seem really easy!

    • Editor

      Whitney, They are easy to make. And I think they are better than a restaurant, they taste fresher!

  11. Jenn
    | Reply

    They look perfect! Love those beans in there!

    • Editor

      Jenn, I hope you try them. Enjoy!

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