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Fish Sauce: Better than Ketchup

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The Awl's official condiment column, ever in "the search for the next sriracha," tackles fish sauce today. Whether you call it nuoc mam, nam pla, or "the smelly brown umami stuff," it plays a magical role in Vietnamese and Thai recipes.

The article runs through the best brands of fish sauce (including one super-premium "first-press" brand), as well as a little about its history. And at the end, don't miss the recipes for four decidedly non-Asian dishes with fish sauce: beef short ribs braised in wine, enchilada sauce, walnut pesto (!), and even a clamato mary.

Admittedly, a little of it goes a long way, but it's one of those ingredients that can change everything.

It's Time to Set Your Fish Sauce Free - The Awl

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Comments (2)


over 3 years ago InspiredAppetite

I would love to use fish sauce in my cooking but my husband is allergic to mollusks. Most fish sauces labels state they are made in the same place as oyster sauce. Any suggestions on a tasty alternative?


over 3 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

I love fish sauce even though smells like something you would use in your garden. The Italian equivalent is garum which goes back to the Romans. Even though when you open the bottle the stuff stinks something magical happens when it comes in contact with other foods.