Photo credit: MK19 – Fisheries and Aquaculture Production in Reservoirs in Lao PDR
Technical review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)
The per capita of fish consumption in Laos is slightly above 20 kg/year indicating that about 42% of animal protein intake comes from fish (FAO, 2011).
Drying of fish was found a practical means for preservation in situation where fish catch far exceeds fish consumption. This often happens in the rainy season, between May and October during which fishermen may catch much larger fish biomasses. Before the wide availability of refrigerators, people used to preserve fish by fermenting it into fish sauce or drying it.
The consumption of salted/dried fish in Laos is significant and comes immediately after fresh fish. People in Laos have their own way of fish drying in which a fish is split half by her back, inner organs are removed and body flattened. It is then dried on the open air for a period of time that depends on weather conditions; by then dried fish is ready for the market and consumption.
It is quite common to see dried fish for sale in Laos whether in local markets or by the road side. In general the dried freshwater fish are popular in Laos. It may worth mentioning that fish sale in Laos is run and controlled mainly by women.
References: Caption, Technical Papers of Mekong River Commission, Virtual Tourist, FISHBIO’s Three Rivers Education Program, FAO statistics.