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Must I refrigerate FISH SAUCE (in a bottle)?

I purchased a rather large bottle of fish sauce. I just opened it, and want to know if I need to refrigerate it? If not, since it is such a strong odor, will it penetrate and contaminate everything near it? Thanks!

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  1. No, fish sauce does not need to be refridgerated. The salt pretty much prevents it from going bad. As long as you keep it tightly closed, you shouldn't get any odor.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monkey

      Yes, it IS salty! Thanks for this info. I am glad not to have to refrigerate it along with all the other sauces in the fridge. I need a refrigerator "just for sauces!"

    2. As a matter of fact, my fish sauce says NOT to refrigerate it. I'm guessing it'll crystallize. Just keep the lid on it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: geg5150

        The label of my sauce has no English on it, so thanks for this info.

      2. I keep mine in the fridge (no crystallisation happens) but that's because the cap on a bottle of Squid brand is crappy and tends to go. If I keep it in the closet, the whole closet reeks of fish sauce... keeping it in the fridge kills the smell a bit.

        You don't have to, though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Thanks for confirming this. The fridge is high-rent property, so unless I have to keep it there, I would prefer the cabinet shelf. I am glad to know that room temperature will not affect it adversely.

        2. Okay my nuoc mam comes out of the fridge.

          But what about SOY SAUCE???

          1 Reply
          1. re: Brian S

            I am the OP for the fish sauce query here...we used to keep our soy sauce in the fridge, but I was told somewhere along the way that it does not have to be refrigerated. We have been keeping it in the cupboard and it seems fine. Anyone else know about this?

          2. We always keep our soy sauce and fish sauce in the cupboard. However, oyster sauce and hoisin sauce are kept in the fridge. There are no problems and we always have those items on hand.

            1. Unless it's some horrible imitation (how long before we see "French's Fish Sauce?") real fish sauce will scare away any bacterium, entirely without refrigeration.

              Soy sauce can also be kept on the shelf.

              1. What about oyster sauce? Does that need refrigeration?

                1. I have never kept Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce or Oyster sauce in the fridge, but I do keep Hoisin in the fridge.

                  1. What's this about putting it in the cupboard??? I keep my fish sauce and soy sacue on the counter along with my oils, except for my sesame oil, which tends to go bad faster than I can use it.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: justagthing

                      I keep my sesame oil on the counter or in the cupboard. I use it quite frequently so haven't had the problem of it going bad. I suppose you could refrigerate it and see how it fares.

                      1. re: justagthing

                        Oils can be light sensitive, particularly olive oil, they can go rancid faster in light and lose quality faster as well, hence I keep my oils in the cupboard. I have no counter space at all, so the rest are also in the cupboard.

                      2. While I keep soy sauce in the pantry, I always keep open bottles of fish sauce, Hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, black bean sauce, etc., etc., in the fridge.

                        1. Think we're all propably taking up precioous space in fridge with stuff that doesn't really have to be there? I have been working my way thru all the varieties of Asian condiments at little local store. I just ask store... what do YOU use this for, which brand should I try (next), do you keep it in the fridge? If you're buying stuff at a regular supermarket, it's gonna say"refrigerate after opening"... if it doesn't day that... no need. Worchestershire sauce doesn't need the fridge. Hot sauce does, but if you don't use a LOT, can get a bit of a stale taste to it.

                          When I was a kid, we NEVER kept ketchup in fridge but always mustard?? Now thinking of ingredients, probably should been in reverse... yet nobody ever got sick!

                          1. REAL fish sauce is made by NOT using refrigerated anything -- it is fermented. If it DOES say to refrigerate it, it's probably a warning for a litigious culture (pardon the pun) -- just keep it covered and it will do just fine, like Kim Chee - it's often better when it's NOT refrigerated.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: East_Slope_Charlie

                              Doesn't say to refrigerate so I don't. But my Squid brand fish sause does say 'no squid' on it and it makes me laugh every time. We call it 'fish sauce no squid' in my house.

                              1. re: Sooeygun

                                Squid brand fish sauce has no squid. Shrimp brand fish sauce has no shrimp.


                                All of these very confusing pictures. Needless to say my Naniwa sharpening stones has no shrimps in them neither.


                            2. I keep both my fish sauce and soy sauce in the fridge, not for preservation reasons, but because I find that warmer weather (I live in So Cal) tends to change their flavor - maybe it's concentration resulting from evaporation or something? - making them saltier and more bitter over time. This used to happen more often with large quantities when I'd take longer to get through them.

                              1. I don't refrigerate my fish sauce, but I do keep the soy sauce in the fridge because that is where my Japanese fiancee put it and I am not about to question that. My Thai roommates when I was in Australia kept their fish sauces out on the counter all the time, and used them every day so went through them pretty quick.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: TeRReT

                                  Same here. I put my soy sauce in the fridge, but that is also because I use soy sauces which have no preservative. Most soy sauces on the market have preservatives and do not need to be put in the refrigerator. I don't put fish sauce in the refrigerator because the salt can crush out of the fish sauce.

                                  I do want to point out that there are two kind of "going bad". When people say fish sauce goes bad, it starts to acquire a bitter taste or mustard taste. It does not mean it goes toxic, so it is not the same as "The fish goes bad"

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    slightly off topic but when does shrimp paste go bad and how could you tell? :-))

                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                      :) I have no idea. I don't think they can go bad, but I do put my in refrigerator. I think the salt content is so ridiculous high that it just prevent it from spoiling. I know I use 3+ years old shrimp paste.