In fact, the fish sauce plays an important role in the Vietnamese life. Like olive oil to the Italians and red wine to the French, fish sauce is to the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese takes pride in their fish sauce and believes it has the best flavor in the world. A fish sauce taste test was held between 13 different brands from Vietnam, Thai Land, the Philippines and Korea to find the best one (https://ourdailybrine.com/fish-sauce-taste-test/). The results show hat the Red boat 40N brand of Phu Quoc, Vietnam is the best brand so far.
So how do the Vietnamese make fish sauce? Fish sauce is not simply fermenting fish with sea salt for long periods of time. To make the best quality fish sauce, first step is to choose the high quality and same size fish. After purchasing the fish, the next step is to mix sea salt with fish in a
big jar. Each batch has about 10,000 kilograms of fish and 15 kilograms of salt. The fish has been fermented and broken down slowly. After six months, it need to be stirred everyday. The solid that comes from breaking- down fish will sink, and the liquid will rise to the top. That extraction liquid is tranfered to the shallow ceramic bowl and laid out in the sun. The heat will evaporates some of the waters out and leaves behind the fish sauce. The whole process will taken in 9 months.
In Vietnamese gastronomy, the fish sauce is used to cook dishes or to make a dipping sauce. The fish sauce is often used in lieu of salt to enhance the flavors of the food. This is because fish sauce is very pungent so that it is strong enough to penetrate the meat and bring out lots of flavors for dishes. For example, if you are a big fan of grilled chicken, after mixing all the necessary ingredients including chicken wings, natural oil, sugar, garlic and fresh chili, you should pour some fish sauce in. Then you will have a savory aroma of all the ingredient mixing together.
One of the very basic staples of fish sauce is the dipping sauce that can be used for spring rolls. It’s like magic when you take fish sauce, mix it with a little lime, garlic and chili. Fish sauce in it’s pure form then becomes a little softer, subdued and more manageable on the palette. If you do not have the dipping sauce for spring roll, YOU'RE MISSING OUT!