LA Times: Los Angeles River Backyard Carp Larb 1 hour. Serves 6 to 8.

recipe near bottom of the article -

Los Angeles River Backyard Carp Larb

1 hour. Serves 6 to 8.


  • 2 medium Los Angeles River carp fillets, roughly 2½ to 3 pounds
  • ¼ cup finely minced fresh galangal
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced lemongrass
  • ½ of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro, with stems
  • 12 mint leaves, torn
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • ½ cup chopped sawtooth (culantro)
  • 2 tablespoons nam pla ra (Thai fermented fish liquid)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1½ tablespoons toasted rice powder (buy the Night + Market cookbook to learn how to make this manna from heaven)
  • Green cabbage wedges, sliced cucumber and Thai sticky rice, for serving


  1. Preheat a grill to medium high heat. If you can get them, we suggest using Pok Pok brand Thaan Thai charcoal logs, which are similar to Japanese binchotan.
  2. Wrap the carp fillets in the banana leaves, securing each packet with kitchen twine. Grill, flipping now and then, until cooked through. Thirty minutes should do it.
  3. Remove the fish from the grill and unwrap it. When it’s cool enough to handle, use a fork and your hands to separate the bones from the flesh. These fish are bony. Be thorough.
  4. Once you have about 2 cups of meat, place it in the center of a large cutting board and cover it with the minced galangal. Use a cleaver to chop this pile into a rough paste. This will take a couple of minutes.
  5. Move the mixture to a large bowl, stir in the sugar and fish sauce and mix. Next, add the seasonings in this order and with a quick toss after each addition: chile powder, lemongrass, red onion, cilantro, mint, green onions, sawtooth, nam pla ra, lime juice and toasted rice powder. Serve with a wedge of green cabbage, sliced cucumber and sticky rice. Have about five bites, then leave the bowl curbside for the coyotes.
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Interesting. Do you think those are safe to eat?

They discuss the safety of the fish in the last paragraphs of the article and, in limited testing, were found to have safe levels with qualifications -

In 2007, Drill took part in a study of toxicity levels in L.A. River-caught fish including carp. They were tested for fillet content of PCBs and mercury, and all the fish were under the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s limit for those contaminants.

“Now, we didn’t test them for everything,” she cautioned. “It wasn’t a huge sample size, and it wasn’t a study that was designed for the primary intent to answer the question: Is it safe to consume [these] fish?”

I didn’t get that far but I just wonder how these dont have toxins in them. Doesn’t street water flow into these systems? So with cars leaking oil, trans fluid, coolant, diff fluid, possibly gas, I would be skeptical about eating this.