What Are The Best Substitutes for Fish Sauce?

Fish sauce may not be one of the most used condiments in your kitchen but it is a dressing that adds a spectacular flavor to many dishes.

It is a condiment obtained from Southeast Asia, commonly used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. It consists exactly of a broth that is obtained by fermenting salted fish or shellfish.

As we mentioned above, it is not only used as a dressing but also as a cooking ingredient.

In Thailand, when you eat at a restaurant it is very common to find a bottle of fish sauce on the table for you to taste with your dishes.

Despite the fact that fish sauce is a common ingredient in many households, it can be difficult to find it in supermarkets.

The quickest and easiest solution would be to buy the ready-made product on the internet. It’s very economical and has a very long life.

But what if you are allergic to fish? Or you don’t find it?

In this guide, we have the perfect solution: the ideal fish sauce substitute.

#1. Soy Sauce

Soy is the basic of the basics when it comes to easily replace fish sauce.

It has a stronger and sweeter flavor than a fish sauce, but it will make your dishes taste better.

This is a quick alternative and does not require any other preparation. Put a slight amount of soy sauce on your plate and increase it if you feel that the flavor is not enough.

When using soy, we can find variations and they are as follows:

  • Soy sauce and rice vinegar

To try to remove the strong flavor that we mentioned before, the idea would be to mix the soy with rice vinegar.

The vinegar will make the mixture more acidic and salty. 

Fill half a container with soy and the other half with rice vinegar. Easy right?

  • Soy sauce and lime juice

This would be another solution to try, just like vinegar, lemon juice will give that salty and acidic touch that soy lacks.

Just repeat the same process as with the vinegar: half and half.

#2. Anchovies

Anchovy may not be the most loved fish in the world but if you are one of those few who love it, you’re in luck.

We can easily replace fish sauce with anchovies.

Take a few anchovies and chop them very finely.

When you add them to your plate, you will notice that it has the salty flavor you desire.

#3. Wakame powder

Wakame is an edible seaweed.

The wakame leaves are green and have a characteristic sweet flavor and texture.

When cooked, the leaves have to be cut into small pieces as they tend to expand during cooking. It is usually used in soups and salads.

To use it as a substitute, you need to mix them with vinegar and a pinch of salt.

#4. Vegetarian/Vegan Fish Sauce

For the vegan or vegetarian people most interested in cooking, we have a substitute that may take a little longer to make but is very faithful to the original flavor.

Ingredients for 400ml:

  • 180 grams of wakame seaweed 
  • 4 – 5 dehydrated shitake mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed and unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon of peppercorns
  • 3/4 liter of water
  • 125 ml of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of red miso paste

To make it, put the wakame seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, peppercorns and water in a saucepan. 

Then bring to boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Strain to subtract remaining and solid impurities and return to the pot in combination with the soy sauce. 

Boil until half of the content has evaporated, subtracting the 400 ml that we wanted to prepare initially. 

Remove from the heat and add the red miso paste.

While any of the alternatives mentioned above can get you out of a hurry, sometimes, it is a good idea to spend more time in the kitchen. Also, this alternative holds up well in the fridge, and you can use it many times.

#5. Supermarket alternatives

Sometimes we don’t feel like cooking or it can be difficult to find some of the ingredients.

For this, the substitutes already prepared will save us.

  • Thai Thin Soy Sauce

It has a savory flavor, and it’s salty, so it’s a pretty good alternative that is already made. 

Due to its main ingredients (soybean, wheat flour, salt, water, sugar, and preservatives), it is a great option for people allergic to fish!

  • Worcestershire Sauce: 

The main ingredients are anchovies and tamarind. 

So if you are allergic to fish or if you are a vegetarian, it may not be the best idea but if it is not your case and you find it in the supermarket, it can be a good substitute.

As you have seen, there are many viable options.

Fish sauce (or its alternative) can be used in countless dishes: rice, noodles, salads, soups or fish for example.

The best thing is that you give free rein to your imagination and be encouraged to try this dressing in any of its versions. We promise you that it will transform any of your dishes.

And remember that if you have trouble finding any of the ingredients mentioned, you can always buy them online. The internet will be your best friend.

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