Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Aug 14, 2009 12:32 PM

Need fish sauce advice

I picked up a bottle of Two Crabs brand the other day because I needed some for a recipe and the only store I had time to get to had it. Actually they had two brands, One Crab and Two Crab, and I arbitrarily chose the Two Crab (two is better than one, right?).

The dish I was making, a Thai marinated grilled chicken, tasted fine, but I'm not very experienced with fish sauce and am wondering whether it's worth trying to find a better one. I googled it and found that there is apparently a very popular brand called Three Crabs so I'm wondering whether the One Crab and Two Crab brands are inferior knockoffs trying to capitalize on the popularity of Three, or just other decent brands.

Can a fish sauce expert give me some advice on the subject?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. BobB, I am not a fish sauce expert, but I can tell you that Three Crabs is excellent fish sauce. It is my mother''s favorite brand by far, and I can tell you it makes for some yummy kimchi....

    How it relates to One and Two Crab brands, well, can't really help you there.

    1. Never ever heard of one crab or two crabs or four crabs for that matter. It's always three.

      There are tonnsss of ripoffs in the fish sauce world since it doesn't have that "snobby" air that wine has and thus doesn't have patent rights, but it's getting there.

      The only way to tell though is to do a taste comparison and test

      1. ming tsai used to recommend three crabs.

        there was just a long thread about fish sauce, best brands, how it's made, etc.

        2 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          Must be referring to
          I would go for at least a dozen crabs. 4X

          1. re: Scargod

            Good thread, thanks. And like good fish sauce it has aged well since being started a couple of years ago. ;-)

        2. Based on the lables, the same company, Viet Huong, makes them all. They are made in Thailand and "processed" in Hong Kong, whatever that means. They all have the same ingredients. I usually have been able to find only Two Crabs, but I too also have read these threads talking about Three Crabs. I finally found Three Crabs, but was a long way from home and didn't buy it. I also recently found Five Crabs, and have some at home but haven't used it yet. I've never seen one or four. They are all fairly cheap--in fact, I've never seen any fish sauce that struck me as expensive.

          Some other brands do not use the hydrolysed wheat protein, and some folks like those better. I've tried lots of brands and they all taste great to me.

          1. The two Crab fish sauce is a knock off (someone is copying brand styles). Three Crabs is good - the same company also makes One Crab fish sauce which is a lighter flavored fish sauce. But that same company does not make Two Crabs - that is an impostor brand - but I really couldn't tell you if that brand is any good.

            I grew up in Thailand over 35 years ago (1967 to 1972) and far and away the best brand I have ever tried was the one I grew up eating which is Golden Boy brand.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Cremon

              I like tiparos, but I wish they came in glass bottles instead of those plastic ones

              1. re: takadi

                I've used Tiparos before and it's pretty good as brands go but it will oxidize faster through osmosis because of the plastic bottle. You'll find that a lot of Thai restaurants will use Tiparos because it's less expensive (maybe due to that bottle). But Tiparos is not a bottom brand at all - new, it is pretty good stuff.

              2. re: Cremon

                I second Golden Boy. Best flavor and no additives of any kind.

                1. re: Cremon

                  So what's the deal with 5 Crabs?

                  1. re: johnb

                    5 Crabs is supposed to be their premium brand. I have not been able to locate that one to try it. But if you do find it, be sure it's made by Viet Houng and the crab emblems are in gold foil to be sure you really do have their 5 crabs brand. From what I hear, that one is almost impossible to find.