Can you eat fish sauce without cooking? (+3 easy recipes)

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Can you eat fish sauce without cooking?” We will also discuss the types of fish sauce and recipes using different types of fish sauce.

Can you eat fish sauce without cooking?

Yes, you can use fish sauce without cooking it. Fish sauce like other sauces can be used in vinaigrettes, salads, or dips. Fish sauce undergoes fermentation, salting, and drying processes, making it a safe product for consumption without needing to be cooked.

Fish sauce is usually made from fish (anchovy being the most used) that ferment in barrels mixed with salt for at least 6 months, maturing the umami flavors of the fish. The liquid obtained from this fermentation is filtered and sun-dried and then undergoes a second maturation for another month or two before being bottled.

What are the types of fish sauce?

There are varieties of fish sauces around the world, with nuoc mam and nam pla being the easiest to find in the United States. Understand a little about the most renowned varieties:

  • Nuoc Mam: is the sauce of fermented anchovies of Vietnamese origins, with a brownish color and that can be used to make nuoc mam pha a sauce to accompany spring rolls.
  • Nam Pla: Made with small sea fish such as anchovies, sardines, mackerel, or herring, Thailand’s fermented sauce is often served with fried fish.
  • Ngan-pya-ye: Burmese sauce is made from small fish or shrimp according to the region and is used in various dishes such as fish stews.
  • Patis: is the fermented sauce made from galunggong of Philippine origin. It is often used in the preparation of curry and fried chicken.
  • Tuk trey: usually obtained by fermenting mudfish, tuk trey is a fish sauce widely used in Cambodian dishes.
  • Budu: Malaysian sauce made with anchovies is used to eat with rice, stews, and stir-fries.
  • Colatura di alici: made with anchovies, the Italian fermented sauce of Roman origin is used in pasta like spaghetti.
  • Shottsuru: Japanese sauce made from fermented hatahata that is used in stir-fried recipes and hot pots.
  • Aekjeot: Korean sauce that can be made with anchovies or sand lance and can flavor kimchi salads, soups, and steamed eggs.

Each version has its peculiarities, all made from the fermentation of fish and presenting a lot of versatility due to the power of the umami of the fish sauce to enhance the flavors in certain dishes.

What are some recipes with fish sauce?

Patis Fried Chicken

The patis fish sauce used in the chicken marinade enhances the flavors of this popular Filipino dish. Yields 4 servings.


  • 2 lbs. whole chicken gutted cut into serving pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of  fish sauce patis
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 3 cups of cooking oil (canola, soy, corn, etc.)


  • Put the chicken in a large mixing bowl. Add the ground black pepper and fish sauce. Mix well and let it stay for at least 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, combine the flour and cornstarch in a large container and mix well.
  • Heat a deep cooking pot. Pour oil and then let the oil get hot enough to fry but without smoking.
  • Coat the marinated chicken with the flour and cornstarch mixture.
  • Deep fry for 12 minutes per side (medium heat); flip to cook the other side for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a serving plate with a paper towel. Serve hot.

Spaghetti with colatura di alici

A tasty recipe serves 4 servings and is ready in 15 minutes.


  • 400g of spaghetti
  • 1 or 2  tsp of colatura di alici
  • 1 garlic clove, bashed
  • 1 tbsp of chopped parsley
  • 1 chili
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  • Boil water without salt in a large pan and add the spaghetti
  • Cook until al dente then drain, saving the pasta water and reserve.
  • Add the garlic, parsley, chili, and around 3 tbsp of olive oil to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add around 1 tsp of the colatura di alici.
  • Add a splash of the hot reserved cooking water to the bowl and mix to combine.
  • Add the drained pasta and toss to coat in the mixture.
  • Taste and adjust with more colatura di alici if needed before serving.

Thai Celery Salad with Peanuts

Fresh, spicy, and full of texture, the Thai Peanut Celery Salad can be a practical accompaniment to your meals. Yields 4 servings.


  • 3 tablespoons  of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce Nam pla
  • 6 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chile, such as Fresno, thinly sliced
  • 1cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts


  • Whisk together oil, lime juice, and fish sauce.
  • Toss with celery, scallions, chile, cilantro, and peanuts.

Other FAQs about Sauces that you may be interested in.

Can sauce go in the fridge?

Can you cook bbq sauce? 

Can you defrost applesauce in the microwave?

Can you defrost pasta sauce in the microwave?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Can you eat fish sauce without cooking?” We have also discussed the types of fish sauce and recipes using different types of fish sauce.

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.