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[Flavor Friday] Fish Sauce

What is Fish Sauce?

Fish sauce is an amber/brownish liquid condiment made from fermented fish or krill. Small fish and krill are coated in salt in a 3:1 ratio and fermented for anywhere from four months to three years before ready to use. Fish sauce is used widely in Southeast and East Asian cuisines (especially Vietnamese, Filipino, and Thai cuisines).

What does it taste like?

Fish sauce is strong in umami flavor and brings in a salty, fishy, sweet, earthy, and aromatic taste all at once when consumed/used. Umami is one of the five major categories of taste in food (besides sour, sweet, bitter, and salty). It is often described as savory and contains the characteristic of cooked meat and broth. Fish sauce can add taste intensity to food and increase the layers of flavor in a dish due to its richness in umami.

How to use/where to find?

In most cases, you can find fish sauce in the sauces section in Asian supermarkets. Usually, it is packaged in glass bottles. For cooking, people usually use fish sauce to add aroma and saltiness to the dish. It is also commonly used as a dipping sauce. A common way to prepare fish sauce dipping sauce is to add lemon juice, sugar, garlic, and fresh cut chili to dip different types of meat with it.


Thai Basil Chicken, Vietnamese Caramelized Pork (Thịt Kho), Fish Sauce Wings, Pad Thai, Papaya Salad

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