Fish Sauce! (Nuoc Mam)

Discussion in 'The Mess Hall' started by Ad Astra, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Ambassador

    Finally got a bottle of Red Boat 40N! Excited to try.

    Wife's Vietnamese friend constantly gives us food she makes. Delicious, but she's not there to explain ... I figured out the dipping sauce, and hit the local Asian market.

    First fish sauce I got was Golden Boy. It was the stuff, but it did have the musty funk critics mention. They liked Three Crabs, but other reviewers smashed the stuff. It's an improvement over Golden Boy (whose label was good for a howl at work).

    Fish-sauce critics DO approve of Red Boat, and I finally remembered the brand and scored some. It's loved. "Like seared fish," one said. Sign me up!


    Anyone want to share uses/recipes for fish sauce? Dipping, of course; steak marinade I will try. Don't drink Bloody Marys ... fish sauce works *almost* anywhere soy sauce does .... almost.

  2. Claudel Xerxes

    Claudel Xerxes Moderator

    I love nuoc mam. I rarely use it as a dipping sauce though. I usually use it as part of a marinade, in a stir fry, or add some to the water/stock when I make rice.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  3. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Ambassador

    Yes; finds its way in rice.

    Loving the subtle touch. And the history is there, as Roman garum sauce ... and much less nasty than theirs.

    I may pour this stuff on popcorn tonight, if nothing else.

  4. I have a bottle of something from the local Asian. Market, but I had no idea how much the brand mattered. Interesting.

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  5. I throw some in spaghetti sauces and chili. Use it in Caesar Salad dressing (with lot's of garlic!) in place of anchovies as well as in my Asian cooking. It's like that Frank's Red Hot commercial... "I put that s*** on everything!" It adds an "umami" element to the non Asian foods that I find tasty. I only have access to the cheap brands though. I'd LOVE to try the "good" stuff
  6. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Ambassador

    Chris, google "best fish sauce." Apparently, it's incredibly important.

    I tossed my bottle of Golden Boy for Three Crabs ... and the Red Boat was harder to find. The girl at the market acknowledged it.

  7. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Ambassador

    Red Boat is on amazon ... our Asian market is an adventure. I got a pound of beautiful roast pork, too.

  8. Mick

    Mick Contributor

    Golden boy is fine in Thai or Indian curries. I wouldn't use RB-40 in curries/sauces.

    RB + sugar + lemon and/or lime juice as a dip for tempura. If you are adventurous a touch of Thai red curry paste will wake things up.
  9. That sounds fantastic with the spicy version.

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  10. TexLaw

    TexLaw Contributor

    There is a large Vietnamese community in the Houston area, so we see fish sauce all over the place. Quality must certainly varies quite a bit. Red Boat is great stuff. It also came in first with ATK, for whatever that's worth.
  11. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Ambassador

    Yes; that has a Vietnamese name ... And is supposed to be over the top good ...

  12. ouch

    ouch Moderator Emeritus

    Nuoc Cham Vietnamese dipping sauce
    2" piece of carrot finely shredded
    2 tablespoon sugar combined with 1/2 cup warm water
    1/3 cup fish sauce
    1/4 cup lime juice
    2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    1 small red chili thinly sliced
    2 cloves garlic minced
  13. ouch

    ouch Moderator Emeritus

  14. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Ambassador

  15. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Ambassador

    This is going to happen!

  16. It's funny, I don't like fish or seafood of any sort, but a splash of this in many dishes just gives it a certain complexity in the flavours. Obviously saltiness but something I can't quite define - I know if it's missing though! Always need it in any SE Asian style dish, get the salt/sweet/sour/spicy balance.
  17. That's the article I read after using 3 Crab for years. I thought "man, 3 Crab is the pits, I better upgrade". I bought some 40°N at a local asian market and I honestly couldnt tell much difference. Now I wasn't sipping them like a single malts, but in sauces/dips I really couldn't tell much difference. And the bottle I have doesn't have the nasty smell they mention. Weird.

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    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  18. One of my favorite marinades...
    • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
    • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed and sliced
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    Whiz everything up into a puree and marinate your protein of choice for at least a few hours, I usually do 24hrs.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  19. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Ambassador

    That does sound amazing ...

  20. The Knize

    The Knize Moderator Emeritus

    My local Trader Joes' are now carrying Red Boat. I have not tasted side by side against what I was using, but it seems very good to me and a step up.

    As for recipes, this Milk Street recipe for Vietnamese "shaking" beef has a fair amount of fish sauce (and garlic and black pepper and lime) in it, and is quite good and easy to do. Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bò Lúc Lắc)

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