What Does Fish Sauce Taste Like? And How To Use It!

Fish sauce is made with fermented fish (anchovies, mackerel, or other small oily fish). It has a pungent, salty flavor and is used in many dishes around the world. This condiment is often found in Southeast Asia, especially Thai and Vietnamese food. The flavor of fish sauce can vary depending on what type of fish was used to create it and the specific region where it was made.

Fish sauce isn’t just for tasting amazing! It also has many health benefits! In this blog post, we’ll find out what fish sauce tastes like, what health benefits it has, and how it can be used in cooking.

What Is Fish Sauce?

Fish sauce is extracted from the fermentation of fish with sea salt. Fish sauce is extremely popular in Thai, Burmese, Cambodian, and Vietnamese cuisines. Fish sauce has a dark amber color and a distinctive umami flavor that goes well with vinaigrettes, soups, marinades, stir-fries, sautéed greens, pasta, risotto, and broths.

Fish sauces are made from anchovies, mackerel, or other small oily fish that have been fully fermented. The fish is coated in salt and put in huge barrels to sit for at least 6 months, but sometimes the fermentation process can last a few years. When the fish is in the barrels, the natural bacteria breaks down the fish and creates a salty, fishy liquid or the fish sauce as we know it.

What Does Fish Sauce Taste Like?

Fish sauce is a salty, savory condiment made from fermented fish. It has notes of umami and tanginess, as well as sweet undertones. The fish sauce also comes in runny consistency with different degrees of saltiness depending on the amount added and fish used.

The flavor of fish sauce is pungent and salty. The taste can vary depending on the type of fish used in making it and where it was made. Fish sauce is often found in Southeast Asian dishes, like Thai and Vietnamese food. Fish sauce taste also depends on how long the fish has been fermented. The longer the fermentation process, the more pronounced the fish sauce flavor.

See also: Ultimate Guide to Ranch Dressing Taste

What does fish sauce smell like? Fish sauce is a pungent-smelling condiment made from fermented fish. It smells like anchovies and has a very salty and briny smell. If you close your eyes, you will think you are standing in an oceanfront fish market. 

Is Fish Sauce Sour or Salty?

Fish sauce typically has a pungent, salty flavor with a hint of sweetness. The saltiness in the fish sauce comes from the type of salt used to preserve the fish and the fish itself. Thai fish sauces typically use a lot of palm sugar, which gives them a subtle sweetness.

It’s often referred to as “salty-sweet” by Thai people because it combines the sourness of tamarind with the saltiness of fish meat or flakes into one salty/tart flavor that enhances dishes like curries and soups immensely.

Are Fish Sauce and Oyster Sauce the Same?

Fish sauce and oyster sauce are different. Oyster sauce is mostly used for Chinese food and is made with oysters, soybeans, wine, and seasonings like salt and sugar. On the other hand, fish sauce is made from fermented fish or anchovies that have been mixed with sea salt or brine. 

Both fish sauce and oyster sauce are common condiments in Asian cuisines. Fish sauce is typically made with anchovies, salt, and water, while the oyster sauce is made from oysters and has a thicker consistency that is usually due to the addition of starch or cornstarch.

See also: What Does Wasabi Taste Like – All You Need to Know

Does Fish Sauce Have a Strong Fish Taste?

Fish sauce has a very strong, salty fish taste. The fish sauce also has elements of umami and a sour kick. Fish sauce has a powerful taste and smell that will take a little getting used to if you are not familiar with Southeast Asian cuisine.

Fish sauce has a strong fish taste, but it is balanced by a powerful salty flavor and also sweet caramel flavor from the added palm sugar. These different ingredients create a unique salty, sweet, fishy sauce.

How Is Fish Sauce Made?

Fish sauce is made by collecting saltwater from a natural source, mixing it with ground anchovies in large vats, letting it ferment for six months to three years before filtering out all impurities (such as bones), and leaving only the concentrated dark amber-colored liquid or fish sauce as we know it.

What Are the Ingredients in Fish Sauce?

Fish sauce is made from fermented fish. The most commonly used fish to make this sauce are anchovies, mackerels, and herrings. The longer the fish has to ferment in a large jar, the stronger the flavor will be. The more salt that is added to the mixture also strengthens the taste of it.

See also: What Does Pesto Taste Like? Pesto Taste In-Depth Guide

In Southeast Asia, fish sauce is often used in traditional dishes (soups, broths, marinades, salad dressings). Fish sauce is an integral part of Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. It can also be used for many other dishes like pizza or pasta sauces.

How to Use Fish Sauce?

Fish sauce enhances the flavors of various dishes, such as Thai curry, Vietnamese noodle soup, Filipino sinigang soup, or stew. Fish sauce can also be used to make dipping sauces such as Vietnamese nước mắm (literally “fish water”).

Even though fish sauce has distinctive rich umami, tangy flavor with sweet undertones, it is quite versatile when it comes to food pairing. Fish sauce is often added to sautéed greens, pasta, risotto, roast meat and poultry, marinades, soups, broths, and grilled seafood.

Fish sauce also goes well with pan-fried meat and vegetables and salad dressings. Fish sauce gives the dishes a bold, funky intensity and slightly sweet notes. It also boosts salty and savory flavor in vegetable dishes. Since the fish sauce is so intense, you only need to use a little bit of it, so one fish sauce bottle will last forever.

To experience the real flavor of fish sauce, we recommend buying high-quality Asian fish sauces. Vietnamese fish sauces are known for their high quality due to the long fermentation process and ingredients. When buying fish sauces, ensure it contains only fish and salt, with no added preservatives, sugar, or chemicals. Since fish sauce lasts forever, it is better to buy a more expensive sauce and enjoy the real flavor.

See also: What Does Goat milk Taste Like? Is It Better Than Cow Milk?

If you want to create an amazing fish sauce infused dipping sauce, follow these steps:

  1. Place 1 part fish sauce, 2 parts sugar, and 3 parts water into a bowl
  2. Whisk until full combined
  3. Enjoy!

Does Fish Sauce Go Bad?

Fish sauce doesn’t go bad! It will last for months at room temperature and years if it’s stored in a cool, dry place. Fish sauce does not need to be refrigerated because it’s already full of salt, which is a preservative. If you want to double-check that your fish sauce has not gone bad, sniff it to see if it smells like moldy cheese or rotten milk.

What Are The Health Benefits of Fish Sauce?

Fish sauce is not just delicious, it is also rich in vitamins and nutrients that give many health benefits. Check them out below:

  • Enhancing food flavor

Fish sauce has a strong, salty taste that goes well with many dishes, including soups, vegetables, noodles, marinades, soups, broths, and more. So no matter what your favorite recipe tastes like, you’ll be able to add some flavor by using a little bit of this condiment.

  • Curing infections and inflammation

Fish sauce has been shown to have antibacterial properties that help fight off infections in your system! This is due to its high concentration of amino acids and vitamin B6. If you’re feeling ill or want to strengthen your immune system, try cooking with fish sauce!

See also: What Does Hollandaise Sauce Taste Like? The Answer May Surprise You

  • Boosting immunity

The high levels of amino acids in the fish sauce are also great for boosting your immune system because they provide the essential building blocks for protein production and other metabolic processes. These essential building blocks give our body the nutrients to produce white blood cells that fight off infection, viruses, and disease-causing microbes.

  • Hydrating skin

One of the most common ways people use fish sauce is by mixing it with their moisturizing lotion before applying it to their skin. Fish sauce soothes the skin, prevents wrinkles, and slows down the aging processes.


Fish sauce has a salty-sweet taste with a powerful fermented fish flavor. Fish sauce doesn’t just taste good, it’s also good for you! It’s loaded with nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to make your food delicious while keeping you healthy. Fish sauce has many health benefits, including aiding in digestion, boosting your immune system, and helping to fight off illness. In addition, it’s loaded with nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that will make your food delicious while keeping you healthy.

See also: What Does Chick Fil A Sauce Taste Like? – The Inside Scoop

Fish sauce is widely used in cooking. Not only does it add a unique tang to your dishes, but it’s also a great way to get a lot of flavor without adding any salt or sugar. The fish sauce goes well with almost anything, from vegetable salads and risotto to steaks and grilled seafood. The fish sauce should be used in moderation. Too much can make your food taste salty or sour.

Recent Posts