Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Apr 13, 2009 08:30 AM

Desperate for spongy, fishy, shrimpy cakes from the Orient

If I'm not mistaken, Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine all have a version of some sort of spongy, flavorful, ground-up seafood cake made from fish or shrimp or squid or what have you.

I'm not necessarily thinking of Korean seafood pancakes (though I love those); those are too big.

The items I'm thinking about are bite-size appetizers, and they come with some sort of dipping sauce.

Where can I get these, and who makes them really, really well (bonus points if it tastes extra fishy)? I'm hungry.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Are you talking about something like keropok lekor (Terengganu-style fish sausage that's deep-fried and eaten with a sweet/spicy red sauce)? If you find anyplace that serves those, let me know! I've never seen Malaysian East Coast cuisine anywhere in New York.

    On the other hand, if you're just looking for regular fish or shrimp chips/toasts (Krupuk in Indonesian), you can buy them (at least the shrimp ones) in any of several stores in Chinatown (Ubon's Thai-Indonesian Store on Bayard between Mott & Mulberry, for example) and deep-fry them in your kitchen - carefully, if you dare. It's fun to watch them "kembung" (Malay/Indonesian for "bloom," which is essentially what they do when popped in boiling oil).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      The Thai versions are called 'Tod Man' and which might be variously spelled as 'Thod Mun' or something similar. If made of fish they will be called 'Tod Man Plaa' and if made from shrimp will be 'Tod Man Kung.' They usually come with a dipping sauce consisting of vinegar, cucumber, sugar, ground peanut and ground hot pepper.

      1. re: ThaiNut

        That's something different, though yeah, I'd call them "fish cakes." But actually, neither Tod Mun (which is how I usually see it spelled on New York menus) nor Kerokop Lekor are actually bite-size. Bite-size sounds like krupuk (shrimp chips).

        1. re: Pan

          Don't feel too limited by my "bite size" requirement. What I should have said is that I'm looking for something sort of ground-up fish or shrimp appetizer smaller than a huge pancake.

    2. Some of the dim sum houses offer some kind of spongy fish or shrimp cake deep fried with peppers or eggplant. Comes soy sauce for dipping. Alternatively you can find these served on street carts of Chinatown sometimes. I've seen malyasian curry noodles contain this type of stuff as well. Here's a picture.
      Vietnamese restaurants serve shrimp paste n sugar cane like this

      The fish paste is readily available in chinese butcher shops I believe and you can fry or steam your own cake.

      Other things you can do.

      You can buy fishcakes in the supermarket aisle in any chinese super market. They come in yellow pre fried version , or white version. Fishballs/Shrimpballs/Squidballs/beefballs/porkballs etc.. have similiar consistancy. Most cantonese restaurants will serve this type of stuff with seafood noodle soups or pan fried seafood noodles.

      Sorry for being too general . I can't seem to think of any restaurants off the top of my head specifically. But this type of food is fairly common.

      1. Thank you for all the helpful and descriptive replies.

        To clarify, I'm not looking to go to pick up fish cakes from a specialty market and fry them up at home later; I'm looking to buy the product hot from a restaurant and eat them immediately.

        Any specific restaurant names would be helpful--especially those that serve a good Tod Man.

        Thanks again

        2 Replies
        1. re: Yaqo Homo

          OK, if that's what you're looking for, you need to go to Sripraphai in Woodside. I have yet to find a Thai restaurant in Manhattan that makes really good Tod Man (for example, Pam's Real Thai's rendition is pretty mediocre), but Sripraphai does.

          1. re: Yaqo Homo

            Friend House 2 on East 14th (the more Thai/Pan-Asian Friend House, not the one on 3rd Ave) has shrimp pancakes: lightly fried shrimp and peppers in a sort of breaded wonton skin. Dee-lish, and I'm not a fan of Thai food.