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Oyster Sauce vs. Fish Sauce

crn Jan 16, 2007 02:44 PM

What's the difference? I always thought they were the same? No? Yes?

  1. s
    S U Jan 16, 2007 11:01 PM

    A long time ago, a Filipino friend introduced me to fish sauce... there are many types. Here's a link to the wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_sauce

    When I tried the sauce for the first time, my good friend began telling me about history of its production. I'm so glad that didn't scare me away; she painted a vivid picture of its production before machine presses were invented -- the old fashioned human stomping with bare feet.

    1. y
      yumbofoodie Jan 16, 2007 07:54 PM

      My understanding is that Fish Sauce is more of a flavor enhancer - something that adds depth to a dish - rather than something to be had alone. I suspect that Worcestershire Sauce (and the fermented anchovies that go into it) works in the same way.

      1 Reply
      1. re: yumbofoodie
        amyvc Jan 16, 2007 10:47 PM

        I agree. It's that secret ingredient that makes the dish "wow"

      2. a
        amyvc Jan 16, 2007 04:41 PM

        My close friend is Vietnamese. I thought fish sauce was made by boiling the leftover fish parts and reducing it. I'll ask her. Either way, it smells SOOOO gross but gives the food that little "extra."

        1 Reply
        1. re: amyvc
          uptown jimmy Jan 16, 2007 04:55 PM

          Roughly, they ferment the fish and then squeeze the liquids out of it in some sort of press.

        2. f
          FlavoursGal Jan 16, 2007 02:49 PM

          Oyster sauce is a thick, viscous sauce made from oysters. Fish sauce is a watery sauce made from anchovies.

          Oyster sauce is a staple in the Chinese kitchen, while fish sauce is a staple in Thai and Vietnamese cooking.

          7 Replies
          1. re: FlavoursGal
            Pei Jan 16, 2007 03:00 PM

            Ditto. Oyster sauce is the color of soy sauce, but thick like ketchup.

            Fish sauce is clear and amber, kind of like apple cider vinegar.

            1. re: Pei
              crn Jan 16, 2007 03:10 PM

              Thanx for clearing that up for me everybody!!

              1. re: crn
                Cereal Killer Jan 16, 2007 03:26 PM

                In case you really wanted to know: http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/feat...

                If you've even been traveling in southeast asia, you'll never forget the smell of fish sauce factories...


                1. re: Cereal Killer
                  Chocolatechipkt Jan 16, 2007 03:29 PM

                  Or if the bottle you open happens to leak and gets all over everything (as it did last night).

                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt
                    Cereal Killer Jan 16, 2007 03:53 PM

                    I can only hope you were in a kitchen and not an airport / train station / bus station!


                    1. re: Cereal Killer
                      Chocolatechipkt Jan 16, 2007 06:24 PM

                      Just my kitchen, but that was bad enough! :b

                      At least the resulting dish (pad si yew) was tasty!

              2. re: Pei
                Sam Fujisaka Jan 16, 2007 08:27 PM

                Other than some Vietnamese fish sauces that are cloudy, thicker, smellier.

            2. n
              nyctravelguide Jan 16, 2007 02:46 PM

              No. not the same. Oyster sauce is much sweeter. Fish sauce isn't sweet, just salty. Both high sodium, I prefer the flavor of Oyster Sauce.


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