Fish Sauce and Padek

Appears in

By Phia Sing

Published 1981

  • About

Nam pa, fish sauce, is an ingredient found in almost every recipe. Every South-East Asian country has its own fish sauce: nuoc mam in Vietnam, tuk trey in Cambodia, nam pla in Thailand, ngan-pya-ye in Burma, and so on. Fish sauce plays the same role in this region as soy sauce in China and Japan. It is prepared by steeping fish in brine for a long time (in Laos, far from the sea, a mixture of 20 per cent sea fish and 80 per cent freshwater fish used to be the norm) and draining off the liquor which is formed. This is brown in colour, rather like a peaty Scotch whisky, and is usually sold in bottles.