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The 3 golden rules of shopping for fish sauce (nam pla)

Monday, April 24th, 2017

  1. Step away from the oriental shelf at the supermarket. Sure, you can buy fish sauce just about everywhere these days but the most widely available brands come in small bottles with a hefty price tag.
  2. Hit up your local Asian store. This is where you’ll find nam pla in large (720ml) bottles – often for the same price as the small one you’d pick up in a supermarket. Squid Brand or Tipparos are good ones.
  3. A good quality fish sauce needs to be light brown colour. If it is very dark or pitch black, that means it’s old. High-quality fish sauce should have a pleasantly fragrant fishy smell. Avoid if there is an extremely strong and pungent smell.

Saiphin ‘Rosa’ Tips: Fish sauce is used in most Thai dishes, but you can also make a dipping sauce called ‘Prik Nam Pla’ (literally means chilli and fish sauce), which is found at most street stalls and restaurants across Thailand. Simply add a teaspoon of freshly chopped bird’s eyes chillies and garlic to a bowl of fish sauce. It is amazing with fried eggs and curries!