Vegetarian Fish Sauce?

In the same store noted in yesterday’s post about the “ethnic food aisle”, I saw this product I had not seen before.

For those of you not familiar with fish sauce, it is an often used condiment in cuisines of –as far as I know– Filipino, Thai, Vietnamese, and other Southeast Asian countries.

I did not know there was a vegetarian version.  Vegetarian fish sauce sounds rather funny to me, because it does not have the usual ingredients of well, you know, FISH, or fermented fish extracts.

In the Philippines fish sauce is called “patis”.  A popular brand is Rufina, which list ingredients as Fish Extract (assorted blend of scads, herrings, sardines, mackarels), water and salt, and less than 1/10th of 1% of benzoate of soda as a preservative.

It has a strong, very pungent, fishy odor which can be off-putting to some people, like “Opa” (Grandpa), who grew up in Indiana and never smelled fish sauce until he met Lola Jane. Oh, and to clarify that, not that I smell (or used to smell) like fish sauce, hah!  And not that there is anything wrong with smelling like fish sauce if you happen to adore that sort of scent on people.

And lucky for him we are never without fish sauce, for I always keep an extra bottle as back up.  And, I don’t tell him (though I suspect by now he knows or will after he reads this) that it is my secret ingredient in the tasty soups and stews I make.

Fish sauce is also delicious mixed with vinegar and spices for dressings and dipping sauces.  Just a tiny bit is needed.

And well…as far as the vegetarian fish sauce, I passed, and I think I will stick to my regular fish sauce with actual FISH in the ingredients for now…Though next time, I will check out the vegetarian fish sauce ingredients.

Do you use fish sauce?  Love it or hate it?

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2 thoughts on “Vegetarian Fish Sauce?

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