HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese?

Found at New May Wah Market-- Red Boat Fish Sauce made in Vietnam

sfbing Jun 30, 2011 09:58 PM

Relatives have said for years that the fish sauce in America (which mostly comes from Thailand) can't compare to the real stuff from Vietnam. Rampant counterfeiting of labels (3.5 crabs vs. 3 crabs vs shrimp vs pink labels vs. blue labels) meant careful scrutiny of every bottle to make sure we weren't buying crap from a fly by night operator. After eating in Saigon, I had to admit that the nuoc mam did taste better there, although not enough to haul it home with me.

So this may be of interest to cooks of Vietnamese food on this board: New May Wah Supermarket in the Richmond is selling bottles of nuoc mam nhi under the Red Boat label that are bottled in Vietnam. Only ingredients are salt and anchovies from Phu Quoc, which is apparently the place in Vietnam for anchovies. $4/bottle --two different strengths: 40 and 35. The smaller bottle is the 40, which is stronger and more intense. (I don't know why you would buy 35--just buy 40 and dilute it with water if it is too much for you.) Flavor is very good--smooth, round, intensely fishy with a slight sweetness. Is it worth the extra buck? I thought so, but your mileage may vary.

New May Wah
719 Clement St, San Francisco, CA

  1. h
    hlv2eat Nov 16, 2011 11:34 AM

    I think Red Boat is the best nuoc mam nhi that i've tasted since leaving Viet Nam in 75. I am glad that the owner of the company chooses to produce the fish sauce using traditional, artisanal way. Now, hopefully people outside of VN will know what a good nuoc mam should be. The addition of MSG, sugar, preservative gave nuoc mam a bad reputation. Unfortunately even now in Viet Nam nuoc mam of this quality is becoming more rare.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hlv2eat
      takuhead Nov 16, 2011 05:03 PM

      I agree - this is the best product out here - I just restocked my supply with 10 cases for future fermentation workshops

    2. v
      vulber Sep 16, 2011 07:02 AM

      their website lists it as being alreayd available at manila market, bi-rite market, faletti foods, 24th st cheese company, and tuong phong market....can anyone confirm?


      4 Replies
      1. re: vulber
        wolfe Sep 16, 2011 07:12 AM

        Also Hiep Thanh, Tuong Phong Market, Le Beau Market, Cheese Plus and Real Food Company. I bought mine at one of the places on an older location map and I now see 5 places closer to my home. They are doing a real good job in merchandizing. Why not just try the closest place?

        1. re: wolfe
          PegS Sep 16, 2011 09:20 AM

          AND at Rockridge Market Hall and Star Grocery? If so, how wonderful.

          Rockridge Market Hall
          5655 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618

          1. re: PegS
            ...tm... Sep 19, 2011 04:50 PM

            And Monterey Market (personally confirmed).

            1. re: ...tm...
              goodeatsgal Sep 21, 2011 11:10 PM

              And Sigona's in Redwood City. They had the #40 on sale, for $7.99, I think. This was about a month ago.

      2. Delucacheesemonger Sep 16, 2011 03:43 AM

        This is absolutely anchovy essence in the best way, wonderful product. Costs @ $6/250ml bottle for the '40' from the supplier shipped.

        1. The Librarian Jul 13, 2011 02:52 PM

          Today's New York Times food section has a short article about it:


          If you go to Red Boat's web site, you can find more places to buy it. I haven't tried it yet, but I love fish sauce!


          5 Replies
          1. re: The Librarian
            wolfe Jul 13, 2011 03:44 PM

            Thanks found 3 East Bay sites including my recently recommended Sontepheap Market
            New Saigon Supermarket
            950 International Boulevard
            Sontepheap Market
            1400 International Blvd.
            Mekong Market
            1613 International Blvd.

            Sontepheap Market
            1400 14th Ave, Oakland, CA

            1. re: wolfe
              ...tm... Jul 13, 2011 04:29 PM

              I just got some from Sontepheap Market last weekend. It is a huge step up from other Vietnamese fish sauces I've tasted. I was also excited to pick up a culantro (ngo gai) plant in a recycled water bottle.

              Sontepheap Market
              1400 14th Ave, Oakland, CA

              1. re: ...tm...
                wolfe Jul 13, 2011 04:41 PM


                1. re: ...tm...
                  drewskiSF Jul 13, 2011 04:48 PM

                  i always feel bad when they bring me ngo gai at Viet places. like cilantro, it tastes soapy so this somewhat rarely provided herb is wasted on me.

                2. re: wolfe
                  zippo Sep 16, 2011 07:27 AM

                  About a month ago I bought the Red Boat 40 in the 17 oz. (500 ml) bottle for $8 at New Saigon Supermarket on Int'l Blvd at 10th Avenue in Oakland. The bottles were located on the counter next to one of the cash registers.

              2. l
                Landarc Jun 30, 2011 10:27 PM

                I have been using Red Boat for a while and can attest to it's intesity and overall quality. It has also been very consistent and reliable, which is nice, to not have to worry about whether it is the real stuff. I use the 40N almost exclusivley, although the 35N is also quite nice and works great as an addition to soup bases and even BBQ sauces.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Landarc
                  takuhead Jul 1, 2011 07:42 PM

                  I love this product too - you can also find it at the Sigona's in the Stanford Mall and at the Redwood City location - makes for a great fermented ketchup.

                  I have been recommending it to my classes for ketchup and even for kimchi....

                  Sigona's Farmers Market
                  399 Stanford Shopping Ctr, Palo Alto, CA

                  Sigona's Farmers Market
                  2345 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, CA

                Show Hidden Posts