There is no actual record of who created this savoury shrimp paste rice dish, but historians agree that it has been popular for a very long time. Thai royals through the ages love to grill catfish to top the dish off.
Shrimp Paste Rice is lauded as one of urban Thailand’s best dishes due to its blend of ingredients and intense yet balanced flavors. Shrimp paste has been an important season in Siamese households since way back in the distant past, the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng, in fact. When the Sukhothai empire spread southwards in a bid to expand its territory, it discovered the paste in Pattani and brought it back to the north.
There was further evidence of the use of shrimp paste during the reign of King Narai the Great and a Persian ambassador left feeling unimpressed, stating that the paste smelt so bad that it didn’t deserve a place in any great dish.
21 years later, however, a French ambassador visited Thailand and remarked that the shrimp paste could be found everywhere and that he couldn’t really understand its widespread popularity.
Shrimp paste rice was mentioned for the first time during the reign of King Rama V, during his second visit to Europe in 1907. It was recorded that King Rama V dreamed of Krom Phraya Suda Rattana Rajaprayoon, his grandmother who cooked delicious rice with shrimp paste for him. When he woke up, he ordered for shrimp paste and various seasonings to be prepared and cooked the dish for himself.