HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

does nam pla spoil?

koshergourmetmart Feb 6, 2009 09:53 AM

can nam pla spoil? I bought one with an expiration date and want to know if I could use it after that date?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. k
    KTinNYC RE: koshergourmetmart Feb 6, 2009 10:02 AM

    Never. It's already fermented what else could happen to it?

    4 Replies
    1. re: KTinNYC
      egit RE: KTinNYC Feb 6, 2009 10:17 AM

      It always says to refrigerate after opening. So I assumed that something bad could happen to it... spoilage, or whatever, given that it's a fish product.

      1. re: egit
        KTinNYC RE: egit Feb 6, 2009 10:27 AM

        Not always. Some brands say to refrigerate but others say not to refrigerate because salt crystals can form. Trust me, this stuff never goes bad.

        1. re: KTinNYC
          egit RE: KTinNYC Feb 6, 2009 11:22 AM

          Well, since I've never used THAT much of it, I did have a bottle in the fridge that collected salt crystals in the bottom after about a year or two. Since I was moving anyway, I didn't take it with me. Thanks for the info.

        2. re: egit
          JungMann RE: egit Feb 6, 2009 10:27 AM

          It's pretty much the distilled and salted flavor spoiled fish!

          It doesn't need refrigeration.

      2. j
        JNUNZMAN RE: koshergourmetmart Feb 6, 2009 10:38 AM

        I saw a show that showed how they make it. They clean the fish(dependent on what kind they are making), place in wooden barrels, fill with water, and put straw lid on it. Then they put outside in the elements to ferment for a long time, a year or so I believe. They then put the pour out and strain the solids from the liquid and bottle it.
        I don't believe refrigeration is required here.

        1. goodhealthgourmet RE: koshergourmetmart Feb 6, 2009 10:50 AM

          re: JungMann's comment, it's not spoiled, it's fermented...big difference.

          it is *possible* for fermented foods to spoil - they can become contaminated with mold or bacteria. the process of fermentation doesn't preserve food FOREVER, it just retards spoilage and greatly extends shelf-life. however, it's HIGHLY unlikely that a bottle of fish sauce is going to spoil when stored properly in the kitchen cabinet of a modern home...and there's no need to refrigerate it.

          oh, and that expiration date means nothing. in fact, most foods that bear "use by" or "sell by" dates can be eaten safely well beyond the date. we had a discussion about this last week...


          3 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
            tarteaucitron RE: goodhealthgourmet Feb 6, 2009 11:25 AM

            Yes, fermented foods can definitely spoil, but for the sake of argument, the salt content in this stuff is so high that I would imagine any living organism would find it hard to stay alive in there.

            (But don't ask me how the fermentation took place in this case then -- thinking out loud, I realise I am contradicting myself here!)

            1. re: tarteaucitron
              Will Owen RE: tarteaucitron Feb 6, 2009 01:24 PM

              Fermentation in salt is how sauerkraut and kimchi are made. In fact, I was under the impression that nam pla was made from salted fish, in the same way the Romans' garum was.

              1. re: Will Owen
                KTinNYC RE: Will Owen Feb 6, 2009 01:51 PM

                How fish sauce is made http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/feat...

          Show Hidden Posts