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Aug 19, 2014 09:23 PM

Red Boat Fish Sauce 50N or Salt

Has anyone spotted the 50N Fish Sauce or the Salt by Red Boat anywhere in the Bay Area? So far, I've only found them on the Red Boat site. The 40N seems to be the more common sauce, and even that is not easy to find. Thanks!

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  1. I saw them both at new may wah on clement street in sf a year or so ago. Still have mine so I haven't checked what they're carrying now.

    1. I am pretty sure I saw their 40N fish sauce at Andronico's in the Inner Sunset. In the Asian condiment section. But I didn't pay close enough attention to see if it was 40 or 50.

      I'd suggest just emailing or calling them to ask, if you haven't already.

      1. The 40N is in most major Asian markets these days I believe, at least in SF. You can even get it at Porcellino. Didn't even know there was a 50N.

        Haven't noticed the salt on shelves but I did get some as a freebie at a cookbook author event, so I assume it has some distribution here.

        ETA: yikes, the 50N goes for $16 for 80ml on their website. Even allowing that buying direct might be about 20-30% more expensive than in stores, that's still like $13 a bottle. By volume that's about 9x more expensive than the 40N (about $8 for 500ml I think). How good is the stuff?

        6 Replies
        1. re: bigwheel042

          Yikes is right! That's why I wanted to find it locally. I don't know if the 50N is that much better, but I would love to do a comparison with the 40N.

          1. re: goodeatsgal

            The author event bigwheel042 was referring to was probably Andrea Nguyen's signing of her Banh Mi Handbook (I got Red Boat salt samples there too). She is now on board with Chow, so perhaps you can contact her here and find out what she knows about the products' availability.

            1. re: soupçon

              Good idea, soupcon! I'm a big fan of Andrea Nguyen and her Viet World Kitchen site, and had read her post about her new cookbook on the Home Cooking board. Unfortunately, I must have missed hearing about the signing of her book.

              1. re: goodeatsgal

                It was at Omnivore Books, and they have a newsletter mailing list. It's worth getting on, and you won't get gratuitous spam from them.

                1. re: soupçon

                  Darn, I'm bummed I missed this. I just saw Omnivore Book's newsletter about her. Thanks for the tip - I just signed up for the newsletter.

          2. re: bigwheel042

            I've got a little packet of that salt also. I haven't used it yet, have you? What did you think?

          3. I haven't seen the 50N or salt in stores. I usually see the 40N in Asian markets, and have recently been amused that it is popular enough to have knock-offs (picture taken at Sun Hop Fat, Oakland). It looks like they are no longer offering their regular 35N sauce, which was actually my favorite general use sauce. The "N" is a measure of nitrogen/liter, and I found the 40N to be both more concentrated in fish flavor and salt, which required watering down a bit more for nuoc cham.
            As a useful note, I've found the Megachef brand recommended by David Thompson in his tome Thai Food is now frequently available here. I noticed it at Sun Hop Fat, and Koreana Plaza, likely elsewhere.