Grilled sardines are simple and simply Thai. Dishes like curries and noodles are influenced by foreign cuisines; grilled fish is core and basic. We live along canals, rivers and oceans. Fish is caught and turned into meals for today or dried and preserved for days to come.
The role of fish is so traditional that when Thais receive guests at home, we always ask the guest if they have eaten by asking if you, "Gin kow, gin pla?" or "did you eat rice and eat fish?".
I made grilled fish when we got the fresh sardines and preserved the rest in the form of fish sauce. The grilled sardines can be served with chili fish sauce (nampla prig) or chili sauce and fresh vegetables.