Thai fish sauce, also known as nam pla, is typically made from anchovies and has a strong, intense flavor with a slightly sweet and salty taste. Vietnamese fish sauce, known as nuoc mam, is often made from a combination of anchovies and salt, resulting in a milder and more savory flavor profile.
Thai fish sauce, also known as nam pla, and Vietnamese fish sauce, known as nuoc mam, are both popular condiments in Southeast Asian cuisine. While they may seem similar at first glance, there are notable differences between the two in terms of ingredients, flavor profile, and usage.
Ingredients: Thai fish sauce is typically made from anchovies, salt, and water. The anchovies are left to ferment in wooden barrels for several months, which gives the sauce its distinct flavor. On the other hand, Vietnamese fish sauce is often made from a combination of anchovies and salt. In some cases, other ingredients like water, sugar, and additives may be used in the production process.
Flavor Profile: Thai fish sauce is known for its strong, intense flavor. It has a pungent aroma and a taste that is both sweet and salty. The fermentation process of anchovies lends a complex undertone to the sauce, making it a staple ingredient in many Thai dishes. Vietnamese fish sauce, on the other hand, has a milder and more savory flavor profile. It is often described as having a rich umami taste, making it a versatile ingredient that enhances the overall taste of Vietnamese cuisine.
Usage: Both Thai and Vietnamese fish sauce are widely used in their respective cuisines. Thai fish sauce is a key component in dishes like Pad Thai, green curry, and tom yum soup, adding depth and complexity to the overall flavor. Vietnamese fish sauce, on the other hand, is an integral part of traditional dishes such as pho, bun cha, and banh xeo. It is also used as a dipping sauce or added to marinades and dressings.
Here is an interesting quote from Anthony Bourdain, the late American chef, and travel documentarian, about fish sauce: “The secret of the kitchen should be shared. It should be shouted from the rooftops. Salt, fat, acid, heat, and fish sauce.”
Interesting facts about Thai and Vietnamese fish sauce:
Thai fish sauce has been an essential ingredient in Thai cuisine for over 2,000 years.
Vietnamese fish sauce has a rich history dating back to the 17th century and is recognized as a fundamental flavor in Vietnamese gastronomy.
Both Thai and Vietnamese fish sauce are considered to be a form of fermented fish product, a technique used in many cultures worldwide.
Fish sauce is often used as a substitute for salt in cooking, as it adds a unique depth of flavor to dishes.
Now, let’s take a look at a brief comparison table outlining the main differences between Thai and Vietnamese fish sauce:
|Thai Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)||Vietnamese Fish Sauce (Nuoc Mam)|
|Ingredients||Anchovies, salt, water||Anchovies, salt (sometimes with additives)|
|Flavor Profile||Strong, intense, sweet, and salty||Milder, savory, rich umami taste|
|Usage||Key ingredient in Thai dishes||Staple in Vietnamese cuisine, dipping sauce|
In conclusion, while Thai and Vietnamese fish sauce share a common base of anchovies, they have distinct characteristics in terms of flavor and usage. Understanding these differences can help in creating authentic and flavorsome dishes that pay homage to the diverse cuisines of Southeast Asia.
In this video, you may find the answer to “What is the difference between Thai and Vietnamese fish sauce?”
In this section of the video, the host explains the production process of fish sauce, emphasizing that the quality can be determined by the amount of first press in the product. She reviews different brands of fish sauce and highlights Red Boat Fish Sauce as a luxurious option due to its high fish content, rich flavor, and minimal ingredients. The YouTuber also discusses alternative options to fish sauce, including combining soy sauce and golden mountain sauce, but notes that soy sauce can be a versatile substitute on its own. She concludes by reminding viewers that fish sauce can be purchased online if it’s not readily available in their area.
Additional responses to your query
Thai fish sauce is known to be saltier and have a more pungent flavor than the Vietnamese sauces, which are lighter of taste. People say the best Vietnamese fish sauce is made from fish that are sourced from Phu Quoc, an island off the southwest coast of Vietnam.