What is Fish Sauce?
Fish sauce is a well-known Thai food staple, and it makes a great, salty addition to any Southeast Asian recipe.
Fish sauce (or "Nam Pla" in Thai) is a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine. Good fish sauces are made from a fermented mixture of fish (typically anchovies, but sometimes tuna, shrimp, squid, or mackerel) and salt. Fish sauce can be overpowering on its own, but don't worry — as a seasoning or marinade, the "fishy" flavor is minimal, and the lime juice paired with it in most Thai recipes helps cut the smell.
If you're looking for vegetarian options, vegetarian fish sauce does exist, but you can also substitute with Golden Mountain Sauce or soy sauce.
Many larger grocery chains carry fish sauce, but for the most authentic options, go to your local Asian market. Look for bottles with no more than fish extract, salt, and water in the ingredients list — and look for sauce made in Thailand or Vietnam.
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