Fish sauce is one of those ingredients that sounds disgusting, smells pretty gross but makes food taste amazing. But if you find yourself without any of this classic Thai / Vietnamese ingredient in the house, it’s OK. Just reach for these fish sauce substitutes.
What is Fish Sauce?
It’s a pungent condiment used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. It adds salty umami flavours and makes things taste amazing.
Fish sauce is made by fermenting fish. And if you’ve ever been to a fish sauce factory (as I have) you won’t forget the smell. It’s intense!
The ingredients include anchovy, salt and sugar. I’m happy to eat it because the from the nutritional information, it’s only 3% sugar.
It’s a great paleo / low-lectin alternative to soy sauce.
The Best Fish Sauce Substitutes
1. Soy sauce
If I run out of fish sauce, my go-to substitute is soy sauce. The flavour of soy sauce is darker and more caramel than the bright sour saltiness from fish sauce. But they both make food taste more delicious.
Start with less soy sauce than fish sauce. And add more as needed.
2. Soy sauce + rice vinegar
For an even closer substitution, replace the fish sauce with 1/2 soy sauce and 1/2 rice vinegar (or other vinegar). This will give you the salty sour freshness.
3. Soy sauce + lime juice
Another option to give you the salty sour freshness.
A few finely chopped anchovies added to a curry or stir fry can add the savoury saltiness you’re looking for. But it wouldn’t be my first option.
Delicious Fish Sauce Flavour Pairings
- Fish Sauce & Chicken
- Fish Sauce & Chilli
- Fish Sauce & Cashews
- Fish Sauce & Peanuts
More Ingredient Substitutes
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Collard Greens
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!
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