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Fish Sauce


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I took a Thai cooking class many years ago, and the instructor recommended "Tiparose" (maybe Tiparos??) brand.  Easily found in SoCal, only problem is it comes in like quart size bottles and I don't use that much, so it gets ummmmm........*funkier*.......than you would like after a while.

Yes it is Tiparos aka Tang Sang Hah Co. Ltd. reputed to be Thailand's largest producer of fish sauce (nam pla).

My personal favourite is Golden Boy produced by Tang Heah Seng Co. Ltd.

The best in my opinion is Viet Huong (Three Crabs brand); though foodmiles-wise, am a little freaked out that my bottle says it's produced in Thailand, processed in Hong Kong, and distributed from the US - and purchased by me in Sydney!

I tend to avoid this brand precisely because the label proclaims that it's processed in Hong Kong. Fish sauce is made by fermenting a mixture of fish and salt in a large urn. If done properly/authentically the process can take up to 12 months. Given that rents in Hong Kong are astronomical compared to retlatively inexpensive Thailand, it would not make much economic sense to have the fermentation done in Hong Kong unless the fermentation process is speeded up artificially using enzymes and other additives. Fish sauce on steroids? A look at the list of ingredients on the label shows up other extraneous ingredients apart from fish, salt and sugar.

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The Three crabs one sounds like Vietnamese Fish Sauce to me.

Vietnamese and Thai fish sauce are different. So if you cook Thai i would recommend using Thai Brand as it has distinctive fragrance.

I use Tipparos and Scale brand ( This one is used by my grandmother..the logo is the Traditional Scale).

There are a few new brands launched lately in Thailand. One is Megachef. Quite nice.

If the brand i like is not available, i then choose the one with the least salt content.

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I use the Tiparos brand as that's the only one available here without a major trip.

A bottle tipped over in the restaurant pantry once and I went looking for a dead mouse. :rolleyes:

How can something that funky taste so good? :wub:

Edited by BarbaraY (log)
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Tiparos user here, too. Good stuff BUT that yellow lid is hellishly cranky to open and close. And when it finally does reluctantly snap closed, tiny droplets of pure stink are all over the counter. Such suffering I endure for my rotten fish gut juice. :raz:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Sounds like it matters what type of cooking you are doing. I received "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen" for xmas, a book highly recommended by eGers on the Vietnamese cooking thread. The author says that it is uncommon to find fish sauce imported directly from Vietnam; most comes from Thailand. She says that some brands, such as 3 Crabs and Flying Lion, which she likes, are in the "style" of Vietnamese fish sauce: less heavy or salty than traditional Thai fish sauce and they often will use the Phu Quoc designation despite the fact that they are not made there.

She suggests looking for labels that include the words "cot, nhi or thuong hang", which indicates a premium product made with the first extraction of liquids; that would be lighter in color and more delicate. She also says that if you see the words "ca com" you are getting sauce made from anchovies local to Phu Quoc, which is desirable; I assume the bottle should specify imported from Vietnam if this is the case. I am sure the regulars on the Vietnamese thread could weigh in with more info.

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I think I will definitely have to try both the 3 crabs and Flying Lion even if they are produced outside of Vietnam.

My wife is Japanese and considers the use of any type of Chinese soy sauce in Japanese cooking to be an offense worthy of a lynching. I would imagine that there are Vietnamese and Thai cooks who feel the same way about their respective fish sauces.

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I avoid the 3 Crabs sauce because it is a processed, flavour-added sauce rather than a naturally fermented one..... fructose and hydrolysed wheat protein have been added to hurry up the fermentation process by way of hydrolysis (which seems to have taken place in HK rather than Thailand, hmmmm )... way too chemical....

I personally prefer Golden Boy, Tra Chang or Squid in that order....a superlative fish sauce takes time to ferment and is a reasonably expensive, age-old process for good reason.

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I was perusing the fish sauce section of one of the local super markets and they had Rufina Patis from the Phillipines.

Any opinion on how this compares to Thai fish sauce?

It seems to be free of the chemical nastiness in the Three Crab brand.

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Tiparos here. I switched from 3 crabs a while back and never looked back.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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My wife is Japanese and considers the use of any type of Chinese soy sauce in Japanese cooking to be an offense worthy of a lynching. I would imagine that there are Vietnamese and Thai cooks who feel the same way about their respective fish sauces.

Funny my wife's like that also. No cross-over of any kind is allowed or tolerated. Thus in my, no, her kitchen, there are 3 types of Japanese soya sauce (shoyu) no, make that 4 - just remembered the super premium version for sashimi and 5 (count carefully) types of "Chinese-styled" soya sauce ranging from super light to the dark treacle that I am sure could be used for road-making if one ran out of tar.

Add to that the myriad chillie sauces, 7 at last count, including 2 different types of tabasco (1 green, 1 red), 4 different kinds of mustard, 5 if you count wasabi as mustard (surely at the risk of another lynching), and a host of other sauces and concentrates (3 for dashi stock alone) and I reckon my wife is the leading candidate for recruitment into the Saucemakers' Association Hall of Fame - Lifetime Acheivement Award.

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Golden Boy and Tra Chang are our favorites. We have used Three Crabs, and it tastes just fine – perhaps more mellow than the others. I will try Tiparos next, because it has far less salt than Golden Boy. Less salt means more funky fermented fish flavor without oversalting. :wub:

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My mother is Filipino and my father Thai, so we have been exposed to both Filipino and Thai fish sauces. My dad didn't like using patis at all. It was too salty, and didn't have much flavour. Thai fish sauce added another nuance to food, while Filipino fish sauce just added salt, and a lot of it.

His first choice was always Golden Boy, and his second choice was the one with the squid on it. In Winnipeg, however, we didn't have a huge variety to choose from, so it doesn't mean those are the best available.

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The first one I tried was Squid brand. It is funny how reluctant I was to use it at first. It took courage to shake out the first few drops into a dish. Over time I have come to depend on it as a staple in a lot of cooking. I now measure it out by the shot glass so it is ready when just when I need it. Based on what I have read, Golden Boy and Tra Chang are on my list of primium brands to try. I have been searching CT, MA and RI for the last few weeks and have not seen any of those brands. I hope to visit A dong's in West Hartford soon and I expect to score at least one there.

HC

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I know that at my LAM (Local Asian Market), they sell far more Tiparos than any other brand. I've been a Tiparose girl since the late 60's when I lived in Thailand, but I'm wondering if this "turn-over" factor is important?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Golden Boy is definitely my favourite so far. Seems to work the best in a greater variety of dishes and I think it makes a far better nuoc cham than the squid brand. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any real Viet brands yet, so I'm going to wait and see and maybe scrounge up some Tra Chang.

Edited by Hugh (log)
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the top of my fish sauce list is Phu Quoc I have tried three of them they are all three the best fish sauces I have ever had ...something about that beautiful island I guess! (that is a bottle of Phu Quoc in front of me in the avatar!)

second is of course Squid brand ..at less than 2 bucks a bottle here sometimes ...for consistantly good results it is a huge bargain!

I keep both Phu Quoc (for Cambodian, Vietnamese and Lao food) and Squid brand ( for Thai food) on hand all the time so I have two differing types to work with

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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  • 1 year later...

Just what it says--I stored a big bottle of fish sauce in the fridge, not because I think it needs to be refrigerated but because it fits in there and doesn't on the pantry shelf, and the salt precipitated out. Lesson learned. I thought it would just dissolve back in if I shook the bottle, but it's been a couple of days of fooling around with it and there are still big chunks, like rock salt, in the bottom of the bottle. Worse, I'm in the middle of a big Vietnamese cooking bender and I need my fish sauce! What to do?

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Fish sauce in the fridge leads to salt crystals.

Olive oil in the fridge leads to a viscous gloop.

Having experienced both, I now keep these items only in the pantry.

Have you tried gently heating the fish sauce and stirring to try to get the salt back into solution?

We also had an interesting article on choosing the best Asian ingredients in one of our newspaper magazines on the weekend. They recommended Viet Huong Three Crabs brand fish sauce. Having discovered this a while ago myself, I can fully endorse that recommendation. The taste difference from widely used fish sauces is like moving from cheap to vintage wine. If this is not what you are using in your Vietnamese cooking, why not try and get some of this instead?

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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  • 7 months later...

I've always been told that fish sauce can be kept indefinitely, just leave it on the shelf & don't worry about it. After finally going through a giant bottle of squid brand fish sauce over the course of 2 years, I thought I would show you what old & new fish sauce looks like:

IMG_0223.JPG

On the left is the remnants of the two year old fish sauce. It's inky black, almost the color of soy sauce & has a predominantly salty flavor. On the right is fish sauce I picked up that morning. It's noticeably paler in color & has a pungent, fishy flavor.

If your fish sauce is over a year old, do yourself a favor, throw it out & buy a new bottle.

PS: I am a guy.

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The new bottle was the same brand? I have noticed fish sauce crystallize and get darker with age and then tend to use it in cooked dishes rather than dipping sauces. I have also noticed that bottles of the same brand are not always consistent.

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