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kosher fish sauce

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  • chefm Jul 17, 2006 01:53 AM

Is there a kosher Thai fish sauce on the market? If so, where in the New York area can it be purchased?

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  1. There is no kosher nam pla fish sauce at this time on the market.

    1. kosher

      1. Kosher Goumet Mart is carrying it - http://www.koshergourmetmart.com/cata...

        1. Imo Foods makes it http://www.imofood.com/index.php?cate...

          When I contacted them, they said that they needed a US Distributor.

          17 Replies
          1. re: hindyg

            Does anyone have an update on this? Is there any Kosher Nam Pla fish sauce? Namely in NY? My Tom Ka Gai won't be the same without it :(

            1. re: foodie4life

              Chicken with nam pla? I know that is what Thais eat, but not frum Jews.

              1. re: Dovid

                While I do not personally do this, many Conservative Jews do not eat shellfish (and thus wouldn't want the usual shrimp-derived nam pla) but do not have a problem combining fish and meat products.

                1. re: GilaB

                  Just as well that "many Conservative Jews" do not eat shellfish since Thai and Vietnamese nam pla is made from anchovies, not shrimp.
                  Also, while I can certainly see chicken and fish sauce being a problem for frummies, Vietnamese table sauce (made with fish sauce) tastes great over rice, fried eggs, or grilled tofu.
                  But I can see the potential market for kosher fish sauce being fairly limited in general.

                  1. re: rockycat

                    my husband likes using the nam pla stirfried with vegetables and tofu

                    1. re: rockycat

                      I haven't tried Thai recipes because of many ingredients that are hard to find kosher, if not impossible, but if there were kosher nam pla, people could also try it with recipes using the meat substitutes (i.e. Chick'n strips from Morningstar Farms).

                      1. re: queenscook

                        what type of ingredients are you looking for-there are lots of Asian stores in the NY/NJ area that carry asian ingredients

                        1. re: koshergourmetmart

                          I ended up using soy and it was still delicious but the nam pla would have added an extra depth of flavor. I did find out that my other-half wouldn't have had nam pla with the chicken in the Tom Ka Gai anyway but I find the broth to be a lot more important than the chicken so I could have easily substituted tofu, had I found kosher nam pla. It seems that there is only 1 brand and it's made in Israeli and difficult to find here, the one source that carried it online is out of stock.

                          1. re: koshergourmetmart

                            You know, in truth, I don't recall right now. I just know that over the years, I have seen Thai recipes and they just seem to call for many things that I never see. Some are packaged things that need hashgacha (nam pla, of course), and some are not, but I never see them where I live. What springs to mind in the second category are things like Thai basil, lemongrass, Kafir lime leaves, galangal, etc.

                            1. re: queenscook

                              where do you live? you can generally find lemongrass, Kafir lime leaves, galangal etc at asian stores

                              1. re: koshergourmetmart

                                As you might gather from my "name," I live in Queens. The issue with the Asian stores in my general vicinity, i.e. downtown Flushing, is that no one speaks English. At all. I once wanted to purchase an unusual fruit (turned out to be a durian), and when I tried to ask questions about how to eat it, how to know when it is ready, etc., literally the only thing anyone could say was "79 cents a pound, 79 cents a pound." Not very helpful. I happen to have once seen lemongrass in an out-of-town supermarket, so I know what it looks like, but even now I have no idea what galangal is. Also, the Asian area is really Chinese; I don't think they really have much Thai stuff.

                                I was actually going to post today to say that I have now obtained fish sauce; I bought it in Yerushalayim. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to use it for, but at least I'll have it. When I get back home, I'll look up some recipes. I also bought some jars of Thai curry pastes.

                                I also found some really interesting packets of stuff to make Indian, Thai, and other Asian-type meals. The brand is Asian Home Gourmet, and according to their website, they have a ton of products, far more than the 11 flavors I found in a small supermarket in Beit Shemesh. Their packaging has American nutritional info printed on it, so I imagine it is available somewhere in the US, but I've never seen it. You can also order it from their website, but the shipping charges are very high. However, if I find that I like them, I can always ask relatives who live in Beit Shemesh to pick some up for me, and bring them when they come or send them with visitors who are returning to the States. Has anyone ever seen or used this brand? Any comments on it? I'd also love to have access to all the other varieties they make, but having it shipped from their website is quite pricey. Wait, I just checked. They do sell it on Amazon, but in 12 packs. Still, it's one way to go, especially if I find there's one particular type I like.

                                1. re: queenscook

                                  what hasgacha is the asian home gourmet?

                                  1. re: koshergourmetmart

                                    KF; it's a UK hechsher. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, it's only printed on the Hebrew label that is stuck on the back of the packet, over the English nutritional label column, and is not on the original packaging, so I'm not sure about any flavors that I don't own. I myself would contact the hachgacha agency or the company before I'd buy any other products from Amazon, but that's just me; I'm not implying that anyone else has to do that.

                                    1. re: queenscook

                                      i did contact the company and yes queenskosher it is KF of london. They said " it is specially produced under the supervision Dayan YY Lichtenstein,Rosh Beis Dinof the Federation of Synagogues. Each koshered production is based on order only."

                                  2. re: queenscook

                                    If you're looking for something specific, it helps to bring a googled picture with you to the store. I did this when I was looking for bitter melon, and I was pointed in the right direction. Also, when I'm in the fruit/veggie section of the Asian market, I keep an ear out for people speaking in English on their cell phones or to others. I've gotten tips and explanations this way.

                                    1. re: queenscook

                                      Galangal looks very similar to ginger. I buy mine at Kalustyan's. They also sell kafir lime leaves and lemongrass.

                                      1. re: queenscook

                                        If the larger Flushing markets are following 99 Ranch's lead (the largest Taiwanese chain in the US), they should be carrying Asian Home Gourmet packets with hechshers, as well as other brands (like Kara, Lee Kum Kee) which hechsher some products. My local 99 Ranch carries the following with pre-printed KF (Passover Kitniyo(s)/(t) Green Curry (which has fish sauce as an ingredient btw), Tandoori Tikka Marinade, Rendang, Butter Chicken (Pareve), and a few others. Also - I vaguely remember Hong Kong Supermarket and Great Wall Supermarket in Flushing are both pretty good. New York Supermarket in Elmhurst has a slightly more South East Asian focus, but the huge VN markets you find in some places (Orange County CA, Houston, San Jose, Philadelphia, etc) do not exist.

                                        Also - be careful with home made Fish Sauce/Veggie Fish Sauce recipes. Most recipies do not distinguish between Nước chấm (mixed fish sauce - fairly easy to replace), and Nước Mắm (base fish sauce - harder to replace when it is the primary ingredient in the dish (Pho)). I stick to dishes like Bò Kho, and Cari Gà where I can substitute light soy sauce and either water or seaweed stock.

                    2. You can't find any kosher fish sause in Philly so I make my own "instant".
                      1 can anchovies drained of oil
                      2 oz water

                      Place in a small food processor like the ten dollar one by Black and Decker you can get at Walmart.
                      Done !!
                      I use this in whatever recipe calls for fish sause (I posted my recipe for kin chi on the site under kosher kim chi). Leftover sause can be frozen until next time.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Hezakiah

                        Fish sauce is a fermented product, not merely a fishy liquid. It's much more complex than pureed fish.

                        1. re: GilaB

                          nam pla also contains salt and some sugar. imo's web site shows the following
                          http://www.imofood.com/index.php?cate...
                          Nutritional Facts:
                          Per 100gr

                          Calories: 52.8
                          Protein: 6.92gr
                          Carbohydrates:6.3gr
                          Sugars: 8.86gr
                          Fat: 0gr
                          Cholesterol: 0gr
                          Sodium: 7080mg


                          Ingredients:

                          Anchovy-fish, salt, sugar, water

                      2. Any update on finding this in NYC? I'm in NY for the next few days up to the beginning of Passover and I'd love to find a bottle to take home for a friend who keeps kosher and likes Thai food.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: seattledebs

                          it is not available anywhere in ny city

                        2. If all it is, is fermented anchovies, sugar, salt, vinegar, water, why does it need hechsher at all? Presumably any non-kosher fish caught with the anchovies would batel out - min bemino batel berov, no? - and the other ingredients are fine.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: thanbo

                            Thai fish sauces are often made with oysters.

                            1. re: craigcep

                              "often"?

                              There may many be reasons why Thai fish sauce needs a hecscher but I don't think oysters are one of the main ones. In fact, I've never heard of oysters being used in nam pla.

                              1. re: DeisCane

                                A quick google search reveals that I misspoke. Sorry about that. Ignore what I said. I confused asian sauces.

                                1. re: craigcep

                                  it's so easy to make yourself.

                                  http://editor.nourishedmagazine.com.a...

                                  1. re: yussdov

                                    I thought the smell was supposed to be awful (during the making, not the eating - I know what it smells like as a finished product.)

                              2. re: craigcep

                                I have been told by a Thai co-worker that it is a common misconception that nam pla is flavored with shellfish. Different brands may have a squid or shrimp on the label, but this is not understood by Thai consumers to mean that either contains squid or shrimp. My co-worker, by the way, is allergic to shellfish, and has not encountered a brand that bothers him.

                            2. I have faced the same problem and have ended up substituting kosher salt for fish sauce. Soy sauce has a different flavor than fish sauce -- it's not quite as authentic but salt is the only real vegetarian/kosher alternative to fish sauce.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ChayaMelissa

                                I use Wan Ja Shan Organic Worcestershire Sauce. Even at Whole Foods, it's cheap enough to use pretty liberally. It's certified by OK and is pareve. You might want to add some more salt but it will have that intense umami that fish sauce adds.

                                1. re: CloggieGirl

                                  http://www.koshergourmetmart.com/cata...