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what brand of fish sauce?

I am thinking about making some Thai and Vietnamese food and the recipe is asking for a good quality fish sauce. Is there any brand you guys can suggest?
Does it differ depending on what cuisin?

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  1. i always buy the kind with the very fat baby on the label. i'm not enough of an expert to tell the difference between the brands, but it always looks kinda funny on my shelf.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Haha! I was just at the asian grocery this week and my 3 y.o. daughter insisted that I buy the fish sauce with the big baby on it! And the "panda bear" oyster sauce. There was also something in a can that had a screaming baby cartoon on it that she wanted to buy, but I had absolutely no idea what it was. I should've gotten it just to have on the shelf. =)

      1. re: dukegirl

        I wanted a smaller, easier to handle bottle, so I bought a brand called Thai Kitchen, made from anchovies, which is very concentrated and i can use less.

    2. I would love to know this as well. THey range in price from $2 to $10 and as there is never any English on hte label, I can't tell what the difference is.

      1. Hi Monica, fish sauce is usually just fish, water and a whole bunch of salt that has fermented for a while. There are crude fish sauces which are darker, thicker and I think more salty than their lighter cousins which are sauces taken from the upper layer of the settled fermenting mush. In the Philippines, the sauce is made from the bagoong fish, in other countries, it's made from anchovies. So regional differences are there, but for me, are hard to appreciate.

        I've found that some brands have up to twice the sodium of others (1000mg/serving vs. 2000+mg/serving) and that choosing the lower sodium brands is essential to avoid over salting inadvertently. I use Three Fish Brand Vietnamese sauce, for what that's worth. I have used Purfina Filipino patis as well. Thankfully, it's pretty cheap, so buy two or three different ones and experiment. Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: gold leader

          i'm always dubious about the nutritional labels on imported asian foods, since the english is often translated so badly. like the tin of chinese tea i bought that read: "keep out of not light and away from odiferous." and the cellophane bag marked "whole cashews" that were most definitely walnuts.

        2. I like Three Crabs brand and don't like Squid brand. However, I have also had decent luck with Taste of Thai from the supermarket which comes in a much smaller bottle if storage space is an issue. It takes me quite a while to use up a large bottle of fish sauce.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Richard L

            I like the Three Crabs brand too. And I just bought a bottle of the Taste of Thai (for someone else, who didn't want a huge bottle of fish sauce.)

          2. I faced the same dilemma about a week ago, what fish sauce should I buy for a Thai noodle dish I wanted to make. Here in the Chicago suburbs there are numerous Asiatic markeplaces, and the variety of fish sauces is bewildering, with most prices ranging from $1.19 to about $5 for a 24oz. bottle.

            The brand I bought was Huoc Mam Nhi Phu Quoc double parrot brand from Thailand.. I buy a bottle every couple of years, so it's somewhat of an adventure selecting one.

            I bought it mostly because it wasn't the cheapest or most expensive, it came in a glass rather than plastic bottle, and most important to me, the sodium content was only about 1/2 of most other brands.

            Perhaps, someone who buys fish sauce more often can offer a more educated response.

            Oh, by the way, the Thai noodle dish was very good using this fish sauce in the recipe.