This is a light, clear liquid with a similar consistency to soy sauce. It is salty and gives a very distinctive flavour – it is as fundamental a flavouring for Vietnamese and Thai cooking as salt is for Western. It is made from fresh anchovies and salt that are layered in wooden barrels and left to ferment. The liquid that is drained off first is considered to be the best quality; the later extractions are darker and poorer in quality. It is available, bottled, from oriental stores and some supermarkets.
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