Search This Blog

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fish Sauce

Well, howdy!  I am back from my Christmas and New Year's vacation, during which, much food was made, cooked, assembled and consumed.  This is, in fact, a period when I and my siblings families have a chance to revisit some of our families cherished food traditions as well as special foods that not only hold symbolic meanings, but, very personal meaning to our family.

However, one of the things that has happened to our traditional dishes is an evolution of these dishes.  As my own journey in food has changed, along with the very different journeys of my sister and brother, as has our food, cooking styles and approaches.  This year was no different, as you will all see over the next few posts.

One of the big changes was the presence of fish sauce at this years preparation counter.  As many of you may have noticed, my personal choice of food is often BBQ heavy, with smoke and red meat making notable appearances.  My sister is much less focused on meat, while my brother uses simpler easier t prepare food that focus on the need to get food on the table.  One of the ingredients my sister has taken from her more exotic veggie oriented approach is fish sauce.  'Coup de chance!'  A friend and fellow good centric blogger has recently come into a position that allows him access to some of the finest fish sauce in the world.
These two sauces made the trip with me.  They are both from Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam, the Umami is a brand that is not available in the U.S. the Viet Phu Brand, on the left, is the sauce my friend Rob is now involved in bringing to the market locally.  This found it's way into many of the dishes I cooked on this trip.  It adds an invaluable sense of Umami to many dishes, including BBQ sauce, BBQ slurries, salad dressings, dipping sauces and soups.  While unbelievably aromatic, in a fishy sort of way, when alone, or leaking in the fridge, it adds a wonderful complex touch to the aroma of foods as well.


  1. Excellent blog post. I'd sure like to try some of that fish sauce!

  2. Bob, glad your family is enjoying cooking with it over the holidays! As you said, it can smell pungent alone but when cooked into various dishes and when balanced with sugar and acid it loses that intense aromatic character and adds a deep, sweet and satisfying richness like no other ingredient can.

    My latest favorite use for it is in stews and chili. For New Years we added it to the Au Jus of the reverse sear Prime Rib we did on the smoker and it was fantastic. Another tip, there is more than one swanky bar in San Francisco using it as their new secret ingredient in Bloody Marys and Virgin Marys.

    We will be doing a formal International release of all new Viet Phu fish sauce lines on February third for Asian New Year. I'll leave details here after the release. Of course, you can expect to be among the first to receive a bottle!