A Beginner’s Guide to Fish Sauce

Via Andrea Nguyen

Via Andrea Nguyen

I’m absolutely obsessed with the stuff.

There were many years when the mention of fish sauce in the United States elicited disgust—that is, if the person I was talking to had heard of it at all. On the occasions when I met Vietnam War veterans, we often discussed the merits of fish sauce. Some appreciated its role in Vietnamese food; others were repulsed by it. The ignorance and negativity toward my motherland’s national condiment miffed me—not least because fish sauce isn’t as strange as people seemed to think. Ancient Rome had a similar seasoning called garum. The Chinese version is named yu hai and the Japanese have shottsuru.

Read on at Lucky Peach.

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