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Umami Wonder: What Does Fish Sauce Taste Like?

Fish sauce is a condiment that is made from the liquid and flesh of salted fish.

It originated in Southeast Asia, but now it can be found all over the world.

Fish sauce can be used for cooking or flavoring dishes like Pho soup, Pad Thai noodles, stir-fried vegetables, and more.

Many people find the smell off-putting, but what does fish sauce taste like? If you’re not sure what it tastes like, don’t worry – read on.

What is Fish Sauce?

what is fish sauce

Fish sauce is an aromatic Asian condiment that adds a salty, umami flavor to many dishes and traditionally has been made by fermenting fish with salt and water.

Fish sauce may be used in cuisine as a substitute for soy sauces or oyster-flavored sauces.

This seasoning will add the same savory element to the dish.

The use of this condiment will give your soup just enough salty kick without overwhelming all the flavors.

Fish Sauce can enhance any Thai dish while adding umami which enhances every bite.

There are various types of fish sauces in Asia, depending on how they are made.

– Vietnamese fish sauce is one of the most common types, and it is a clear amber color, while Filipino style has a lighter brown hue to it.

– Thai fish sauce is usually sweeter because their version uses more sugar as an ingredient when compared to other Asian countries.

– In China, there isn’t just one type of this condiment, but instead, they have many different types of sauces, each with its characteristics.

What Fish Makes Fish Sauce?

what fish makes fish sauce

Many people enjoy fish sauce on their food.

They use it to add flavor and saltiness, but what exactly is in this condiment? The fish sauce starts with anchovies, which are small fish that live in the ocean.

The anchovies are gutted, then put into a large barrel with salt to ferment for up to two years.

The end product comprises around 50% water and 40-50% anchovy extract and other ingredients like sugar and vinegar.

Some brands will also use different fish or shrimp paste types, but they’re not common additions.

What Does Fish Sauce Smell Like?

what does fish sauce smell like

It originated from an ancient method of preserving fish, and it’s made by fermenting salted anchovies with seawater then straining the liquid to create this salty brown paste.

Fish Sauce smells very intense; some people deem it offensive because they associate it with rotting seafood or sewage when first encountered.

However, many have enjoyed the flavor profile if cooked properly in dishes as varied as Thai curries and Vietnamese pho noodle soup.

The scent can be overwhelming for inexperienced cooks, but once one learns how to use this ingredient properly, it can become a crucial player in many dishes.

What Does Fish Sauce Taste Like?

what does fish sauce taste like

Have you never tried fish sauce? So, it’s a salty liquid that smells like the ocean and tastes better than any dressing you’ll find on store shelves.

Fish Sauce is an umami-packed condiment with many uses beyond just being for dipping sauces.

It has this weird yet enticing flavor profile of saltiness mixed with hints of sweetness from residual sugar and tangy notes coming mainly from the fermented anchovy.

This sauce is also rich in vitamin B12, which protects against neurological damage and mental disorders like dementia or depression.

Fish sauce can be found in many Asian cuisines.

Still, it primarily originated from Thailand and Vietnam to preserve fish by adding salt to them (thus taking away their natural water).

It was then left to ferment for months before being ready for consumption.

You’ll know when the taste has been successfully captured because you will detect that distinct umami flavor coming through with salty notes followed by a bit more sweetness on your palate than what you would find from an average table-salt seasoning.

Best Brands of Fish Sauce

best brands of fish sauce

Fish sauce is the most critical and common condiment in many Asian cuisines, but what makes a good fish sauce varies from person to person.

All brands have their traits and tastes, so you won’t be disappointed no matter which one you go for.

Here are some of the best-selling brands on Amazon for you to try out: Thai Kitchen’s Fish Sauce – “Best Seller” with over 15000 reviews; Red Boat Fish Sauce made by hand in Vietnam using centuries-old techniques that make it one of our top picks.

The first company is called Thai Kitchen and produces a high-quality product with the perfect balance between salty and sweet flavors while maintaining its consistency throughout the bottle.

This brand also contains no MSG or preservatives in any of its products.

The second company, Red Boat Fish Sauce, is made from anchovy, salt, and water.

A family creates it in Phu Quoc Island, making the sauce for over 40 years.

This fish sauce brand was not only top-ranked on Amazon but also received rave reviews such as “This stuff is amazing.” or “It doesn’t have that heavy umami taste like other brands.

Is Worcestershire Sauce the Same as Fish Sauce?

is worcestershire sauce the same as fish sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a tangy, spicy, and salty condiment which often contains anchovies.

It’s derived from a traditional English recipe, which is often used to flavor meat and other dishes.

Worcestershire sauce differs from fish sauce in that it’s a product of the fermentation process with various ingredients like sugar or molasses having been added.

Fish sauce is produced from fermented fishes such as anchovy, herring, mackerel, or shrimp using salt-water brines.

The result has intense umami taste similar to Worcestershire Sauce but not identical.

Is Fish Sauce Better than Soy Sauce?

is fish sauce better than soy sauce

Fish sauce is a staple of many Asian cuisines, but it’s not known in North America.

For centuries, it has been used for centuries to add flavor and aroma to dishes like pho or ramen noodles; however, soy sauce may be more popular than fish sauce because people are less aware that there’s any other option.

So, is fish sauce better than soy sauce? The answer may depend on your preferences for flavor and other ingredients in the dish you’re preparing.

Fish sauce has a more salty taste that can be overwhelming; soy sauce, on the other hand, is milder.

But that’s not to say one can’t be used in place of another if they are all you have available.

What is Fish Sauce Used for?

what is fish sauce used for

As mentioned several times in this post, fish sauce is a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine.

Primarily because of the intense umami flavor it adds to dishes and its ability to last for years without losing any potency.

Most of today’s fish sauces contain added sugar and preservatives.

However, some varieties still made old-fashioned style-without any additives whatsoever-and they’re worth seeking out if you want the best tasting version possible.

Fish sauce, a salty and savory ingredient traditionally used for Thai dishes such as pad thai, can also be used to marinate meats or vegetables.

The condiment has even been known to serve as the base of salad dressings.

You can also use fish sauce as a dipping sauce for finger foods such as spring rolls or fried wontons.


In conclusion, it’s a staple used in many different Southeast Asian cuisines, but it can also be found throughout the world.

It has an intense aroma and flavor that is salty, tangy, and savory. It tastes much better than it smells.

Try using fish sauce as an ingredient in one of our favorite Vietnamese dishes: Pho Ga Noodles with Chicken (a staple dish at most phở restaurants).

Add some fresh cilantro for extra flavor.

The result will taste amazing without any artificial ingredients being added to your meal.

what does fish sauce taste like

What Does Fish Sauce Taste Like? Does Fish Sauce Taste Good?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Food Taste
Servings 1 Serving


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