Forget Unagi: Bangkok’s ‘Dukedon’ champions Thai catfish over Japanese eels

Photo: Dukedon
Photo: Dukedon

In an unusual foodie location in Bangkok’s Samsen Nai area is a down-to-earth spot called Dukedon that takes pla duk (Thai catfish) away from the usual somtam stalls and into the spotlight. 

A trio of chefs – Prutkumpond “Sarm” Salak, Tachatam “Ton” Saekow, and Kittinan “Kit” Saratantiphong – specialize in both shinkeijime and ikejime (Japanese methods for preserving fresh umami flavors by cutting blood vessels and paralyzing the fish). The fish are then dry-aged for four to five days before being served. 

The highlight is duke don (THB219), a bowl of rice served with freshly-grilled catfish finished with kabayaki-style glaze lending a subtly sweet coating to the crispy skins. Equally delightful was pla mor don (THB249), a twist on Thai climbing perch fish where chefs remove all those annoying bones and torch it to perfection. 

Photo: Coconuts Bangkok

Since the three chefs have to source the fish by themselves – not to mention the dry-aging process – it’s highly recommended to book beforehand.

Dukedon is located in Soi Inthamara 23 in Bangkok’s Samsen Nai area, which is reachable from BTS Saphan Kwai. It’s open only on Friday (noon until 6pm), Saturday (10am until 6pm), and Sunday (10am until 5pm).

Photo: Dukedon

The story originally appeared in BK.

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