The Best Fish Sauce For Home

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Best fish sauces are the umami of Southeast Asian foods. We know the magic it holds, but which brand is the best? Thailand and Vietnam have fish sauce brands sold in Australia, the US or the UK. Is the Vietnamese nuoc mam really superior to Thailand’s nam pla? Here we have some best fish sauces advice for you.

The Best Fish Sauce For Home

If you want to stock your kitchen with some good quality fish sauce then read on. Fish sauce makers buy anchovies from the fishing boats. Because of hot and humid weather in Southeast Asia, people learn to mix sea salt and fish to keep the fish in better condition or preserve them. They will be put into large vats and ferment for a long period – normally one year to three years. The resulting liquid, best fish sauces. It’s the backbone of many Asian cuisines. The Thai call it Nam Pla. The Vietnamese call it Nuoc Mam. The Philippines call it Patis. The Korean call it Aek Jeot. 

The Vietnamese use terms of protein (%) to indicate the quality of the fish sauce. Normally the higher the number the more money you will pay for them. They also work out the first press and the second press - similar to that of olive oils.  

Fish fermentation had been a practice for several thousand years ago in the freshwaters of Southwest China and the Mekong River region. It then spread to coastal deltas and was applied to ocean fish to many countries in Asia. 

The best fish sauces should have:

  • Tastes of best fish sauces are pure fish and sea salt and Fish should be the dominate flavour and salt. Nothing else!
  • Tastes of best fish sauces are with fish and the ocean, and not “fishy”
  • The colour of best fish sauce should be dark amber and not too coffee-like-colour
  • Tastes of best fish sauces can be sweetened naturally not from sugar or other additives

Brands of best fish sauce in Australia

  • Golden Boy - Thailand
  • Viet Huong - Hong Kong/Thailand
  • Three Crabs - Hong Kong/Thailand (same company with Viet Huong)
  • Red Boat 40°N and 50°N - Phu Quoc, Vietnam
  • MegaChef (30°N) - Thailand
  • Squid - Thailand
  • Ayam Fish Sauce - Malaysia
  • + many other brands if you go to Asian supermarkets

How to choose which bands?

  • Next time you’re shopping - read the labels. Check the country of origin, it’s often not what’s represented in the design.
  • But most importantly, check the ingredients. Ideally, you want to check % protein, %fish and %salt.
  • We use different brands over the years, these brands are okay but if you want to have a little premium - then pick Redboat around $12. They are 4 times more but they are more concentrated so you will use less. Other brands will dilute the fish sauce with water. 
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