Horseshoe Crab’s Roe Salad
Yam Kai Mang Da Talay is definitely a Thai dish for the brave. It looks scary, tastes a little fishy and since you only eat the eggs, it has a rubbery consistency. This strange dish has become my favourite dish in Thailand and I can drive a long way to enjoy it…. but wait, there is more… a lot more!
Warning: Scientific content ahead:
Horseshoe crabs are arthropods, considered living fossils, living primarily on soft sandy bottoms of shallow ocean waters and will occasionally come to shore for mating. Horseshoe crabs might resemble crustaceans, but belong to the Chelicerata and are therefore more closely related to spiders and scorpions! Unlike mammals, horseshoe crabs do not have haemoglobin in their blood, but instead, use hemocyanin to carry oxygen. Because of the copper present in hemocyanin, their blood is blue, very blue! Their blood is harvested in labs for the detection and quantification of bacterial endotoxins, blah blah blah… then the horseshoe crab is released… so vampires do exist, that is us!
Warning (yes, again!): There’s the other creature called Hay-Ra that looks really similar to this Mang Da, except that Hay Ra is poisonous, deadly: “Tetrodotoxin may be present in the roe of species inhabiting the waters of Thailand (Tetrodotoxin is roughly 100 times more poisonous than potassium cyanide.)” So get one from the restaurants you can trust!
Anyway, once you finished reading all this and you still want to try, you can consider yourself half Thai! Only the roe is mix with a green mango salad, so past the first natural repulsion, you’ll find out that it is actually very good… when well prepared.