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Is Korean Fish Sauce different from Thai Fish Sauce? HELP!

animatrixie Jun 24, 2007 01:02 PM

I tried to make chicken Pad Sei Iw last night using the only fish sauce I could find, which was in a Korean market. The label said "Salty Fish Sauce," but isn't it all very salty?...Anyway, I used it in the recipe and it turned out WAAAY too salty and too fishy tasting. I'm wondering whether, if I can get my hands on a bottle of Thai fish sauce, it will make a difference. Are the two very different from each other? Is there a less salty alternative or way to dilute the stuff I've got?

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  1. hannaone RE: animatrixie Jun 24, 2007 01:23 PM

    The versions of fish sauce from various Asian countries are different. In general (individual brands will also differ) Korean fish sauce is stronger than Thai and Chinese sauces. If you have to sub a sauce, always taste test first.

    Edit: You can dilute it with a little sugar water to offset the saltiness.


    6 Replies
    1. re: hannaone
      animatrixie RE: hannaone Jun 24, 2007 02:29 PM

      Thanks so much, I really appreciate the reply. :) I just went hunting and managed to find a Thai fish sauce called Tiparos, which looks like the right thing. The Korean fish sauce was kind of muddy looking and had a paste around the inside mouth of the bottle. I'm kind of wondering if it's specifically used for making kimchi? Bonus anyway, if so, because I've been wanting to try that, too! Thanks again.

      1. re: animatrixie
        yokozuna RE: animatrixie Jun 24, 2007 05:52 PM

        Yes, Tiparos is a very good Thai fish sauce. There are also similar Thai fish sauces that have a picture of a squid or a rooster on the bottle (I can't remember the brand name of those). You just need to be aware that regardless of the brand, fish sauce is highly concentrated - be conservative to start with and add just a few drops to your pad see yu or other dish you're making and then add to taste.

        1. re: animatrixie
          chef chicklet RE: animatrixie Jun 25, 2007 08:36 AM

          Would you mind posting the name of the Korean Fish Sauce please? I recently made a pretty good Kim Chee actually the recipe was given by hannaone. It's very good, since I didn't have the product left I left the fish saue out and it would of been better with it.
          Try his recipe is easy and good! Very garlicky, pungent and the cabbage has a crunch to it. I whimped out adding the sauce which is important and then I messed up the steps. Never do that again. Anyway it is still delicious but only I know its missing the fish sauce.

          I'm making it again next week,this time with ALL the ingredients!

          1. re: chef chicklet
            animatrixie RE: chef chicklet Jun 25, 2007 05:13 PM

            Sure! It's made by Hasunjung and comes in a white plastic bottle. Apparently it is for making kimchi, so I definitely picked the wrong stuff for what I was trying to make. I might look into hannaone's recipe, too! Thanks!

        2. re: hannaone
          bitsubeats RE: hannaone Jun 24, 2007 04:48 PM

          I always thought se asian fish sauce was way stronger than korean.

          it sure as heck tastes different though. what fish is fermented in korean fish sauce? I bet its anchovies like in se asia

          1. re: bitsubeats
            hannaone RE: bitsubeats Jun 24, 2007 05:17 PM

            I usually find that Korean fish sauce is far saltier than the standard Thai and Chinese sauces. At least with the sauces my wife gets (she does all the Korean shopping).

        3. Sam Fujisaka RE: animatrixie Jun 24, 2007 05:57 PM

          Don't know about Korean, but Vietnamese, filipino (patis), and Thai fish sauces are very different. The Vietnamese is cloudy, thickish and greyish--apparently as is your Korean sauce.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
            BuildingMyBento RE: Sam Fujisaka Sep 6, 2012 10:43 PM

            The fish sauce I saw most frequently in Saigon was purple, but turbid for sure.

          2. Miss Needle RE: animatrixie Jun 25, 2007 07:42 AM

            I've actually never known that there was Korean fish sauce! My Korean mom always cooked with Thai fish sauce (Tipparos and Squid). Later she would use Three Crabs (Vietnamese) when she wanted to add more sweetness to a dish.

            15 Replies
            1. re: Miss Needle
              hannaone RE: Miss Needle Jun 25, 2007 08:22 AM

              I think in Korean it is called aekjeot and it is usually made from anchovies.

              1. re: hannaone
                Miss Needle RE: hannaone Apr 20, 2009 03:49 PM

                I haven't seen this thread in a while, but I've got to tell you that I had the "pleasure" of eating my dad's jap chae made with aekjeot. A firm no in my book!

              2. re: Miss Needle
                bitsubeats RE: Miss Needle Jun 25, 2007 10:09 AM

                sounds like your mom and my mom are getting korean food tips from each other. My mom uses 3 crabs fish sauce in her garlic chive and green onion kimchi and oh my god it is so fantastic. She makes a HUGE amount because all of her korean friends make ask for it

                1. re: Miss Needle
                  C. Hamster RE: Miss Needle Jun 25, 2007 01:52 PM

                  3 Crabs is a product of Thailand. I have open bottles of 3 Crabs, Squid, Tiparos, and Tra Chang in my kitchen (twisted fish sauce taste test on night) and they are all thin and clear with monor but noticable differences in taste and smell.

                  I have looked for Korean fish sauce for my kimchi for quite a long time and haven't found it in Boston, even at the 88.

                  1. re: C. Hamster
                    hannaone RE: C. Hamster Jun 25, 2007 02:26 PM

                    Without actually seeing the bottle in front of me, I'm not sure which one is the "thick" sauce, but these are all korean made fish sauce.

                    condensed anchovy sauce

                    Salted fish sauce (kanari fish)

                    salted fish sauce for kimchi (anchovy)

                    koamart.com may also have some.

                    1. re: hannaone
                      C. Hamster RE: hannaone Jun 25, 2007 02:31 PM

                      Thanks. It was very helpful to see the photos.

                    2. re: C. Hamster
                      bitsubeats RE: C. Hamster Jun 26, 2007 03:13 AM

                      why don't you try reliable market in sommerville? I never looked for korean fish sauce in super 88, because truthfully they don't even have half of an aisle reserved to korean ingredients.

                      1. re: bitsubeats
                        C. Hamster RE: bitsubeats Jun 26, 2007 12:43 PM

                        True, the 88 in South Bay makes the Korean stuff share an aisle with the Japanese stuff. I don't think the 88 in Quincy or Kam Man is any better.

                        Where exactly is Reliable?

                        1. re: C. Hamster
                          bitsubeats RE: C. Hamster Jun 26, 2007 04:10 PM

                          in davis square in somerville. its the biggest korean grocery store in the area and it is still pretty darn small. It's close to macchu picchu and taqueria mexicana

                          1. re: bitsubeats
                            maryv RE: bitsubeats Jun 26, 2007 06:46 PM

                            That's Union Square, not Davis. You can also get both Korean and Thai fish sauce at J & K Oriental Market, 2376 Massachusetts Ave in North Cambridge.

                            And personally, although I started with Tiparos, I like Golden Boy much, much better.

                      2. re: C. Hamster
                        Miss Needle RE: C. Hamster Apr 20, 2009 03:50 PM

                        Really? That's interesting! Because there's Vietnamese writing on the bottle.

                      3. re: Miss Needle
                        moh RE: Miss Needle Apr 17, 2009 02:42 PM

                        Hee hee! Miss Needle and Bitsubeats, all our mums seem to be on the same wavelength! My mother specifically recommended both the 3 crabs fish sauce and the squid fish sauce for making kimchi! I was quite surprised when she pulled it out. It does add a great flavour to the kimchi.

                        1. re: moh
                          Miss Needle RE: moh Apr 20, 2009 03:52 PM

                          Yes, all three of us must have had the same mothers! I wonder if there were any Korean moms who used Golden Boy. GB seems to be the gold standard with a lot of Thai cooks.

                        2. re: Miss Needle
                          Kojima RE: Miss Needle Jan 31, 2010 06:18 AM

                          There is not only Korean one, but 2 types. One made from myul chi, anchovy and another called kanari which is made from sand lance. The last one is close to Japanese ikanago, made with the same fish. In Japan there are still the shottsuru, but I don't know wich kind of fish it is made from, and the rare ishiru, made with squid and sardines.

                          Yes there is a lot of different fish sauce in Asia. Each one different of others.

                          1. re: Miss Needle
                            koreanhomecook RE: Miss Needle Jan 14, 2013 05:43 AM

                            wow, there are tones ok from what i know 4 or 5 hehe Myeolchi ANchovie Liquid sauce Ganari ( a type of fish I dont know in english) Liquid sauce ekjeot saewoo ekjeot shrimp/prawn Liquid Sauce and Gasuo and myeolchi ekjeot Bonito and Anchovie Liquid sauce.

                            usually in Korea they use anchoive fish sauce usually but my mother inlaw uses saewoo ekjeot but I use anchovie sauce :)

                          2. c
                            charliesommers RE: animatrixie Apr 17, 2009 01:47 PM

                            The secret of many Asian sauces which are all extremely salty, is that they are accompanied by a meal that is mostly unseasoned rice which makes up the bulk of the meal.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: charliesommers
                              Sam Fujisaka RE: charliesommers Apr 18, 2009 07:37 AM

                              Just to back you up: your use of "unseasoned rice" made me think of the obverse, "seasoned rice", and that made me shudder with disgust!

                            2. k
                              kiHoTae RE: animatrixie Aug 9, 2012 05:35 PM

                              Homemade Thai Fish Sauce has a 3:2 ratio of fish to salt
                              Homemade Korean Fish Sauce has a 10:6 ratio
                              also Thai Fish Sauce usually made with cut up whole pinapple. Sometimes suger is substituted for the Pineapple this makes Thai sauce taste sweeter and less salty

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: kiHoTae
                                StringerBell RE: kiHoTae Aug 11, 2012 10:13 AM

                                So that would 3:2 vs. 3.33: 2, or 7% more fish for the Korean fish sauce...it seems like the fishiness when used in something would be practically the same?

                                1. re: StringerBell
                                  kiHoTae RE: StringerBell Aug 11, 2012 04:11 PM

                                  I know, I did the math myself before hand but recipies are recipies. I suspect the differace in taste between the thai & the Korean versions are due to theThai styles inclusion of whole Pineapple - the sweet cuts the salt and lightens the color of theThai Fish Sauce.

                                  This applies to true fish sauce. Most commercial fish sauces are just that, commercial products, a blended, pasturized mix of mostly 70% #2 or #3 Fish Sauce & 30% #1 (1st draw) .
                                  Making your own is very easy but messy and smelly and takes 18 months to ferment. However, the result is very sexy. Golden Boy is a good store bought option, avoid Thai Fish Sauce processed in Tiawan as it is a very cheap product.

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