Recommendations on brands of fish sauce?

AdnamaMay 31, 2014

I primarily want it for Vietnamese style recipes, although I will use it infrequently and may try my hand at Thai style recipes, as well. I have zero idea if that makes a difference in which brand to buy.

Thanks in advance.


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I prefer RedBoat. I was scratching my brow a while ago at the choices on the grocery shelf and made a good choice. More expensive, but like many things, its not just a pretty label. I did not research until home and found it is well researched and preferred by many.

Others, not all, but many are full of added sugars and water and such, so you get what you pay for.
Like oils and vinegars, a cheap veg oil of blended who knows what, or cheap white vinegars i use for cleaning and laundry...

For something so good and we use maybe 3 bottles a year, i go for the quality. I'm just about out and the last bottle was purchased in december i think...

Here is a link that might be useful: RedBoat fish sauce

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 8:40AM
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Like Sleevendog, my mind was boggled by the vast number of brands of fish sauce on the shelves. I needed some for my Som Tum salad. I settled on a small bottle with the brand name of Viet Huong. It tasted fine in my recipe, but I decided I would try another brand when this bottle was empty, which it now is. If it is on the shelf at the Asian store, I'm going to give RedBoat a try. Thanks, Sleevendog.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 3:59PM
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I can't compare many brands, but mine is Thien Long, and I use it almost exclusively for Sol's Caramel Chicken.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 5:55PM
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I second Red Boat; I get it at Whole Foods.

*Before I completely finish a product, I save enough to do a taste test with the brand I have chosen to replace it e.g. olive oils, mayonnaise, canned tomatoes, ketchup. While not something you want to actually taste by the spoonful, I did the sniff and taste with the fish sauce; Red Boat won out over Squid.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 6:46PM
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Whatever you buy, I cannot recommend Thai Kitchen. I don't know what I had before, but I picked this up at a grocery store because I was out and didn't have time to go tothe Asian market. I thought it would be safe if not great. OMG -- that stuff is so strong and so foul. Rotting fish, rotting plants and dirty old socks all rolled into one. It is possible I got a bad or old bottle -- no expiration date on it, but I won't buy another.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 7:54PM
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I haven't bought Red Boat Fish Sauce, but I will look for it. I have been using Nine Crabs brand, which is Vietnamese fish sauce made in Thailand, and not to be confused with Three Crabs fish sauce or One Crab fish sauce. Nine Crabs has the flavor that I like, and it is not too salty and is not sweet. If I want sweet, I will add sugar, and I especially like that it is not too salty.

The first time I bought fish sauce (which was in San Francisco in the early 1980s), it was cloudy instead of clear and extremely strong. However, in small quantities, it did add the flavor that I was getting in Thai restaurants from that period, which is when they were just becoming popular.

Fish sauce made in Vietnam will be different from that made in Thailand, but I think the Thai fish sauce is more versatile and works for both cuisines. It's not expensive, and so you can buy more than one bottle, and it does keep well.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 11:57PM
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I agree about Thai Kitchen brand. It seems to me that it used to be better. It's just sort of oily goo now and doesn't add to the flavors.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 3:21PM
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I had a bottle of Three Crabs, and I liked it okay (I'm no connoisseur of fish sauces, mind you). Had to throw it out after an extended power outage spoiled everything in the fridge (Question : how do you tell if fish sauce has gone bad? It's pretty nasty by itself.) Next go round I'll try the Nine Crabs.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 11:35AM
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Thanks, all!

Arley - LOL re: how to tell if it goes bad!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 8:55PM
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I also wonder about how to tell if it's gone bad. Many years ago a Filipino pal taught me how to make pancit. She helped me do the shopping and I ended up with a bottle of fish sauce that was at least 2 liters! 10 years later, it was still more than half full. I sniffed it and I couldn't tell that it smelled any different than when I first opened it, but I tossed it anyway. I guess she thought I was going to make pancit every day for the rest of my life, LOL.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 1:12PM
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For your perusal.

(And I echo the LOL about Arley's post.)

Here is a link that might be useful: How Fish Sauce Is Made

This post was edited by kitchendetective on Thu, Jun 5, 14 at 15:59

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 3:58PM
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Wow, Kitchendetective, that's even grosser than I thought! Also fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 10:59PM
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