Cooking Hack: Fish Sauce Substitute


Fish sauce is an Asian condiment that packs a salty and slightly sour flavor to Asian dishes. It is a savory ingredient that is made by fermenting fish and shellfish using salt. While this ingredient is commonly available these days, you can try a few options as fish sauce substitute if you run out of this in your pantry and you need one for the dish you are making.

Thai Thin Soy Sauce

Replacing fish sauce with a regular soy sauce is not possible because the latter does not provide as much depth of flavor as the fish sauce does. A good option, however, is the Thai thin soy sauce, which is also known as white soy sauce. It is important to note the color of the sauce as consideration for choosing a substitute because some dishes require the use of light-colored condiments.

On the other hand, this is an ideal substitute because it brings the same savory goodness to dishes like fried rice, fried noodles, and stir-fried dishes that require the use of the fish sauce.

Soy Sauce and Rice Vinegar

If you want to add a depth of flavor to your dish but can’t get your hands on fish sauce, then you can simply mix in rice vinegar into soy sauce. You can use the following formula to recreate the flavor of fish sauce in your dish: ½ soy sauce and ½ rice vinegar. You can also use any kind of vinegar that you have on hand if rice vinegar is not available. This will provide that salty-sour accent to your dish.

Soy Sauce and Lime Juice

Another sour agent that you can mix into soy sauce as a fish sauce substitute is lime juice. You can use the same ratio as the mixture for the vinegar above.

Worcestershire Sauce

If none of the above substitutes work, you can use Worcestershire sauce. It is made with tamarind and anchovies so you can get the salty-sour flavor. However, this sauce is a bit potent so use it minimally.

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