Need Recs for Fish Sauce
- mielimato Sep 8, 2006 09:56 AM
After reading all these posts extolling the virtues and versatility of fish sauce, I am convinced that I need to get some.
But what kind should I get? Some are made in Thailand and others are made in Vietnam. Is there a big difference?
Do you have a preferred brand? The idea of getting "cheap" fish sauce is frightening so I'll happy pay the extra 50 cents for better quality.
I've always bought Golden Boy fish sauce which is from Thailand and I've always been happy with it. I think the shop owner recommended it to me.
Many fish sauces are not just fish and salt -- many cheap ones contain sugar, and some contain added MSG as it's the fifth or sixth pressing of the fish and the "umami" has started to run out. It will be on the label, though, in the ingredients. If you can find "first-pressing" fish sauce, it'll be more expensive and you're much more likely to have the ingredient list be fish and salt.
My favorite is Squid brand, when I can get to Chinatown to buy it. I've been resorting to Cock brand, though, since it is what I keep finding at the supermarket; it works.
I use Squid brand... and I use it a LOT. Meat sauce for pasta, pan gravy, even salad dressings if there's going to be a sweetener in it.
Be aware that the plastic tops on all fish sauce bottles is cheap and gets leaky long before the fish sauce is gone for most people, so you may want to consider wrapping the top in foil to keep out the scent of fish sauce.
Here's a great short primer on shopping for fish sauce, plus on the left margin is a feature on deciphering labels that are in vietnamese:
Here's a longer primer, with some same info as the vietworldkitchen website, plus short reviews of the major brands:
Despite my userame, I dislike the filipino brands of fish sauce. I'm a loyal Three Crabs user (I think the actual brand name is Viet Huong), but I'm on the lookout for a really high quality one for pure dipping.