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.
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).
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.
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. http://tastesofhome.blogspot.com/2008/08/deep-fried-eggplant-brinjal-sandwich.html
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.
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.