Hi everyone, sorry about the “bare bones posts”…it’s just that after shooting all day, I’m so darn tired that I can’t stay awake much beyond dinner and doing my nightly edit and backups. I’ve been posting images and that’s about it and I know some of you want some more background and technical info on the images and technique. I hope to be able to do some blogging about that soon, but for now just images…except to say that today’s cover shot of the woman was a “pan” at a 30th of a second to show a bit of motion.

Fish sauce factory, Kampot

In case you are not yet familiar with fish sauce, it is that salty, smelly brown liquid made from fish that is the single, most important flavoring ingredient in Thai cooking (also well-loved in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma and the Philippines). Used like salt in western cooking and soy sauce in Chinese cooking, good-quality fish sauce imparts a distinct aroma and flavor all its own.

Fish sauce is the water, or juice, in the flesh of fish that is extracted in the process of prolonged salting and fermentation. It is made from small fish that would otherwise have little value for consumption. This can either be freshwater or saltwater fish, though today, most fish sauce is made from the latter.

Among marine fish, anchovies and related species of small schooling fish from two to five inches in length are commonly used, as they can be found in bountiful supply in the coastal waters of the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea. Larger varieties of fish, such as mackerel and sardines, also make good fish sauce, but because they are relatively more expensive due to their value as a food fish, they are seldom used in the commercial production of fish sauce.

Fishing boat, Kampot

For fish sauce to develop a pleasant, fragrant aroma and taste, the fish must be very fresh. As soon as fishing boats return with their catch, the fish are rinsed and drained, then mixed with sea salt – two to three parts fish to one part salt by weight. They are then filled into large earthenware jars, lined on the bottom with a layer of salt, and topped with a layer of salt. A woven bamboo mat is placed over the fish and weighted down with heavy rocks to keep the fish from floating when water inside them are extracted out by the salt and fermentation process.

Washing bottles at the fish sauce factory

The jars are covered and left in a sunny location for nine months to a year. From time to time, they are uncovered to air out and to let the fish be exposed to direct, hot sunshine, which helps “digest” the fish and turn them into fluid. The periodic “sunning” produces a fish sauce of superior quality, giving it a fragrant aroma and a clear, reddish brown color.

Above text from http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/features/fishsauce1.html

Morning commute, Kampot

Kampot is famous for fish sauce and it is also famous for black pepper. The road from Phonm Penh to Kampot will be finished soon and the time needed to get there will go from the present 3 and a half hours to perhaps 2 hours, which  will likely revive Kampot and Kep, as a major tourist destination in Cambodia, as it was prior to the mid 1970’s.


Roadside shop, grandmother with child, Kompot

selling fruit

bananas and smoke

Cambodian smile

looking back

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