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Fish sauce is a thin, salty liquid that is used in place of salt as a seasoning in many Asian recipes, and also serves as a dipping sauce. Made from salted fish, it is rich in Vitamin B and protein.
Some fish sauces contain only fish and salt, while others add a variety of herbs and spices. Fish sauce made in Southeast Asia is often made from anchovies, salt and water, and is often used in moderation because it is intensely flavored. Other types of fish sauce are made using a higher quality fish, such as sandlance, and is usually reserved for special dishes.
Although associated primarily with Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, fish sauce is also found in many Korean, Chinese, and Japanese dishes.
The origin of fish sauce is unknown, although it has been suggested it first appeared in China. It is said early fishing boats were unable to venture into the deeper ocean to catch larger fish, instead staying close to shore and netting many small fish lacking in meat. They found that by layering these many small fish in barrels with salt, they could produce a protein-rich sauce. Subsequently, fish sauce became a primary protein source for the time, often mixed only with rice for a complete meal.
Fish sauce can be stored indefinitely without refrigeration in a dry place.
"Fish sauce." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 22 Nov 2009, 01:45 UTC. 29 Dec 2009.