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Do you refrigerate fish sauce and does it need to be refrigerated?

The title says it all. I always refrigerate fish sauce once it is opened and my sister says it is completely unnecessary.

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  1. No, and no. The label on my fish sauce says not to refrigerate it, because "salt crystals may form in cold conditions." Note that I am a big time advocate of refrigerating things, and not one of those people who stores eggs and butter and soy sauce and vinegar at room temperature (not that there's anything wrong with that).

    1. I've never refirgerated my fish sauce, but for some reason I always refrigerate soy and other sauces. I'd like to know it it's really necessary.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Burghfeeder

        No. And I don't know of any type of Asian-style sauces that *need* refrigeration.

      2. I have never refrigerated it, reasoning being: what's the point when you consider how it's made?

        1. At the rate I use fish sauce, 2 or 3 tablespoons twice a month in soups for starters, I go through a bottle rather quickly. This bottle of Red Boat I just bought doesn't say to refrigerate, but does have a "Best By" date, so I did think about sticking it in the fridge, but space is too valuable in there.

          In the cro-magnon period, when I used fish sauce sparingly, I did store it in the fridge, but it took something like 5 years for salt crystals to form in the bottom of the bottle. YMMV.

          1. When you are wondering what items to refrigerate think about the millions and millions of people who have not, over hundreds of years, had any form of refrigeration. That would include most of Asia. So don't worry about leaving soy and fish sauce on the counter.

            1. Totally unnecessary. I use it up pretty quickly so I've never thought about it. At least in Thailand I've never seen it in a fridge. No one here does it and I've never had any issues.

              4 Replies
              1. re: BKK Brendan

                Red Boat's website says to refrigerate its product. It's one of the best. I don't think you will die if you don't. You will just have the freshness of flavor that millions and millions of people who do not use refrigeration enjoy.

                1. re: pkbnyc

                  I have more space in the fridge than I do in the pantry for this kind of storage so I put condiments in there that arguably don't need to be kept cold, fish sauce included. But there is another reason I do it: the slight pong that exudes from even a closed bottle is mitigated by the chill! (I stand it up in an empty yogurt tub as well to catch any errant dribbles, for the same reason -- do this with my canola oil also which I refrigerate after once using rancid oil in a cookie recipe).

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Never had a problem with leakage or odor from a closed bottle. I have Golden Boy brand in plastic in the pantry because the bottle says not to put it in the fridge in order to avoid creating crystals. The Red Boat is in the fridge because that is its manufacturer's recommendation. The Golden Boy lists sugar as the third ingredient in addition to the anchovy and salt listed by Red Boat. Maybe that crystallizes in the refrigerator.

                    1. re: pkbnyc

                      Ah, could also be why I'm not a fan of Golden Boy :-). I usually get the squid brand but tried Lucky this time instead. I got fed up with the lid not really closing properly on squid. Lucky is better but there is still a slight buildup that whiffs...

              2. I don't refrigerate fish sauce or soy sauce, and I live in a sub-tropical climate. The fish sauce occasionally gets a bit of mold around the outside of the jar if it's not kept clean, but the sealed part is fine.