Best substitutes for the fish sauce

Best substitutes for the fish sauce – No. 2 might surprise you!

Fish sauce, known to be a culinary savor, is the main ingredient in Thai dishes, which is also called ‘Nam Pla.’ It is the mainstay of Asian food. Fish sauce is a pale color condiment that is mostly used as a seasoning or in sauces and many Asian cuisines. No wonder it makes a dish stand out with its fishy, sweet, and salty convulsion of flavors. Just as the name says it, it is made of fish but not like smacking a fish around and out comes a bottle of fish sauce. It originates from the ferments of a fish. Anchovies, small fishes, are covered in salt and kept in large barrels to set out, which remains in the barrels for six months -1 year. That’d be for the fish sauce. For those who are allergic to fish sauce, worry not for we have the best substitutes for fish sauce only for you.

Four healthy alternatives for fish sauce

1. Fish sauce, anchovy paste substitute

A handful of chopped anchovies can bring the sort of saltiness you’re looking for if added to a curry or stir-fried. One tablespoon fish sauce may require one tablespoon of soy sauce mixed with one subtly minced anchovy fillet. Note that one tablespoon = 1 teaspoon of salt. An adequate fish sauce consists of fish (mostly anchovies), water, and salt, which are left to ferment for about 6-12 months. It gives a fine salty and fishy taste to the dishes.

 Every so often, shellfish is used as an ingredient, and therefore, it might not be appropriate for shellfish-allergic people. Particularly for the vegans and vegetarians, who refrain from using this sauce, the substitutes have supreme importance in the preparation of different cuisines without any change of flavor. It does the work of ‘Umami’ that not only adds salty flavor to a dish but a distinctive piquant and flavorsome fecundity – that is immensely hard to forget. It is an alternative of the pungent condiment used in most Thai cooking by using the fish sauce. To make it, you mix the ingredients. Place them in any (preferably small ones) saucepan and stew for 10-15 minutes. You may strain the mixture afterward to extricate the flavor it contains.

2. Asian fish sauce substitute

A salty, brownish-black liquid, made up of soybeans that had been fermented and mixed with roasted wheat or barley in an exceptional kind of yeast mold, is known as Soy sauce, which is afterward flavored with salt. This mixture is kept stored in a cool place for six months, after which it may be strained and put into a bottle. Its consistency may vary in the sense that it may be thick or thin, depending upon the time it is kept stored along with the flavor.

My go-to substitute is soy sauce if I ever happen to run out of the fish sauce.  It has a darker, more caramel flavor rather than the sharp saltiness of the fish sauce. But one thing that is common in both, one thing that nobody can deny is that they both have the same taste and make the food as delicious as ever.

TIP: Start with using soy sauce in a little less quantity than the fish sauce. And add more gradually.  The only ingredients you need in this are:

  • Four pieces anchovies
  •  One spoon soy sauce

 Mix the ingredients and let them set. Then heat them and stain them afterward. 

3. Vegetarian fish sauce substitute

Now this one’s mainly for those who tend to avoid fish sauce as it contains shellfish, which might not be very healthy for everyone as some might be allergic to it. Its ingredients include:

  • Soy sauce, ¼ cup
  • Chinese fermented black soybeans*, two tablespoons
  • Miso, 1-2 tablespoons
  • Sherry, one teaspoon

Combine sherry and soy sauce in a bowl and add mashed black beans to the soy sauce mixture, leave it for 10 min for the seeds to soften. When ready, add Miso and mix well. Strain out solids and store in a refrigerator indefinitely, and the flavor intensifies over time.

4. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce consists of a mixture of anchovies and tamarind (used for making it sour). Moreover, it includes malt, sugar, spices, salt, garlic, vinegar, spirit vinegar, molasses, flavoring, and onions. The addition of soy sauce, cloves, lemons, pickles, and black pepper results in the flavor and spice of it. The characteristics are developed by sealing the mixture in oak barrels for more than three months. It surely is an excellent substitute for fish sauce. Using it as a substitute for fish sauce requires using a minimal amount of Worcestershire sauce. The ingredients are as follows:  

  • Apple cider vinegar, ½ cup
  • Gluten-free soy sauce, two tablespoons
  • Water, two tablespoons
  • Natural organic brown sugar or agave syrup, one teaspoon
  • Ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon
  • Ground mustard, ¼ teaspoon
  • Onion powder, ¼ teaspoon
  • Garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon
  • Cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon
  • Black pepper, ⅛ teaspoon

Gather all the components in a saucepan and begin boiling it while continually stirring it. Stew on low heat for 5 minutes, so the sugar dissolves. Cool and keep in the refrigerator.


So now you have an idea of all the substitutes you can use as an alternative for fish sauce. Substitutes that can satisfy your taste buds and satiate your fish sauce taste have been provided for you. You must try these sauces out if you want a splendid burst of flavors on your tongue. Fish sauce was mainly used in Thai foods, but nowadays, diverse foods have been becoming more popular, and it is being used almost everywhere. You can get it from your nearest local gourmet grocery shop or supermarket rather than ordering from across the globe, as it is readily available in Asian markets. However, one cannot deny the fact that imported brands are of better quality and are reliable.

 FUN FACT: Fish sauce is used not only in traditional dishes but also in deserts. Amazing, isn’t it?

These were the best substitutes for the Fish sauce. Hope you got it all covered! Have a beautiful day ahead.

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