The Triton


Top Shelf: Bing Lee cooks quintessential Thai street food


You will not find a Thermomix, sous vide cooker nor flash foam maker here. No powders, espumas, crumb nor slow-cooked food in a plastic bag. You will not find sanitary stainless steel, HACCP recordings or a purple passport claiming you can cook on a rolling sea.

In fact, you are likely to be dodging cockroaches and balking at being singed by the breath of the wok as you sit and watch in amazement at how simple Bing Lee makes cooking on the street look.

Bing Lee

In essence, this is Thai hawker food, which, as recently learned from the great David Thompson, is a skill practiced on the streets almost solely by women in Thailand. The simple setup takes nothing away from the end result. Sweet-sour and salty elements bring into play a quintessential Thai street dish: salt-and-pepper fried river fish with green papaya salad.

I’ve watched old “Bingers” for a long time, and the most important thing to note is that she tastes, adjusts and corrects her food before banging it into a bag for 180 THB (4 to 5 euros).

Here’s an upscale version of Thai street cooking, inspired by Bing Lee.



The fish
Make a mix of 90 percent flour, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice
Remove the backbone from the bass and leave the fish whole

The salad
500 grams green papaya (or green mango), shredded on a mandolin with the julienne blade

150 grams roasted crushed peanuts
50 grams-plus roasted crushed rice
1 cup coriander leaves
1/2 cup Vietnamese mint
1/2 cup Thai Holy basil
1/ 2 cup fresh coconut shavings
Thai red shallots, fried
Thai fried garlic

The salad dressing
2 cups sweet chili sauce, Thai brand
1 cup fresh lime juice
10 fresh kaffir lime leaves, minced
2 cloves garlic, mashed with salt
1/4 cup fresh tomato pulp
4 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1/2 cup coriander stems, finely chopped
2 tablespoons pickled ginger, finely cut
1 teaspoon salt

Mix salad and dressing and allow at least 4 hours to marry. The palate must register a balance of sweet, salty and the acid component.
Dredge the fish in the flour mixture and fry till golden brown and crispy. Approximately 5 minutes.
Drain and place the fish on a square of recently cut banana leaf.
Push dressed papaya salad into the cavity and top generously with roasted peanuts, fried red shallots and garlic.

Tim MacDonald ( has more than 20 years experience as a chef. He was named Concours de Chefs winner for Yachts over 160 feet at the 2011 Antigua Charter Yacht Show. His recipes are designed for the owner and guests. Comments are welcome below.

Related Posts...
Lewis Burke was a deckhand on our yacht, M/Y Elixir, Read more...
Top Shelf: by Chef Tim McDonald Often overlooked by charter Read more...
Top Shelf: by Chef Tim McDonald No crewmate previously encountered Read more...
Top Shelf: by Chef Timothy MacDonald Nothing more than a disassembled Read more...
Top Shelf: by Chef Tim MacDonald The single greatest influence Read more...

Share This Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Editor’s Picks

Boats and brokers in the news: Lady Sara goes to auction

Boats and brokers in the news: Lady Sara goes to auction

M/Y Lady Sara, a 187-foot Trinity Motor Yacht, will be auctioned for sale by the U.S. Marshal on Sept. 6 in Fort Lauderdale at 12:00 …

Popular yacht crew ‘dive bar’ to close after 23 years

Popular yacht crew ‘dive bar’ to close after 23 years

By Dorie Cox Jeff Rudd looked for a place to move his “dive bar”. But, realistically, he cannot. He has run the The Treasure Trove, …

New Caledonia, a gem in the South Pacific

New Caledonia, a gem in the South Pacific

By Jenifer Rosser Crossing the South Pacific offers a multitude of dazzling countries, islands, lagoons and reefs to enchant even –the …

Capt. Mike “Iowa Mike” Bryan dies

Capt. Mike “Iowa Mike” Bryan dies

By Dorie Cox Iowa-born Capt. Mike Bryan died on Aug. 2 of cardiac arrest in Fort Lauderdale. He was 53. His yacht work included M/Y …