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fish sauce

Are the Vietnamese and Thai versions interchangeable? It's much easier for me to get the Vietnamese version- nuoc mam instead of nam pla, the Thai version.

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  1. There will be variability in the levels of salinity and sweetness, but generally nuoc mam and nam pla are interchangeable. I am partial to Tiparos brand from Thailand, but I have used the Vietnamese 3 crabs brand before.

    6 Replies
    1. re: JungMann

      I also like Tiparos brand and while they are all pretty high in sodium I think it's among the lower of them if that matters at all to the OP.

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        But if it is the primary source of salt in the dish, that sodium level shouldn't be much of an issue. If the dish is too salty, then I've used too much fish sauce, regardless of brand.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          another +1 for Tiparos here, it's almost like a secret weapon for making Thai food.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            90% of the time, Tiparos is the only brand i see.

            1. re: TroyTempest

              I buy mine at H Mart, the Korean grocery store and they have a whole shelf of different brands in case you wanted to try out others.

              1. re: TroyTempest

                That's too bad. My Asian stores have maybe 10 or 15 to choose from,

                I love fish sauce and do blind fish sauce taste tests to amuse myself.

            1. Definitely interchangeable.

              1. Interexchangableable for me.

                1. I've read the the Vietnamese versions are stronger. Other than that I think they should be interchangeable.

                  1. In cooking applications, I think that you will not notice any difference.

                    In applications such as dipping sauces, the differences are notable. Something like Tiparos is quite bold. Three Crabs is better there, I think, for being a bit milder and sweeter, Then, available in the USA, there are more purely/traditionally produced products by Red Boat. I find the flavor there to be very rich and deep but also muskier in a way that some might not like. You need to proceed according to your tastes. I generally have a few varieties of fish sauce on hand.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bada Bing

                      Red Boat was a revelation for me. By far the best tasting I have ever had. I would put Phú Quốc, Five Crabs, and Golden Boy ahead of Tiparos.