I just made Thai food for the first time...

and I have a few questions.

  1. Do you always end up with enough to feed a small army?
  2. Do I really want to know what “Fish Sauce” is?
    3)Will I offend the entire country of Thailand if I leave the eggs out of the spicy noodle stir fry next time?
  3. Will three mylanta be enough?

It really was pretty good. I even peeled and deveined some shrimp the size of small lobsters all by myself. Oh, and the cilantro/chili sauce marinated chicken, grilled, then wrapped in lettuce and dipped in tart and spicy sauce? YUMMY!


Fish sauce is a bit tricky to get around. It it used in sooo much Thai food and yet it stinks soooo bad. Its basically a hyper-salty, hyper-fishy sauce. Some might understandably call the odor offensive due to the fermented fish ingredient.

Get a small bottle and experiment with a few drops here and there. Never use fish sauce on a hot, dry pan.

An easy one is coconut milk, commercial, grocery store Thai curry sauce, and fish sauce. Over some fluffy jasmine rice, suu-poib.

Yes, No, No, No. :smiley:

I only made a half recipe, too, and I had enough to feed 8 people at least.


You guys have not made me feel any better about having eaten it…

I like eggs, but not on top of tofu and noodles. That’s just too much for me.


Seconded. The smell of burning fish sauce ( :eek: ) is not something you ever forget. It’s a condiment, applied lightly and at the end of cooking.

I used to have a housemate who cooked with fish sauce, and I could barely eat the food, it smelled so strongly of rotten fish. I suspect she was adding it in the beginning of the recipe–no wonder!

My first bottle of fish sauce was from an Asian grocery, and it was great stinky stuff. THe bottle I have now is from a regular grocery store, and it smells mainly like corn syrup. I need to get a new bottle.


In Thai curries the fish sauce is incorporated in the paste before cooking commences although it is usual to use less than you expect to need and add the rest at the end. This is because once you have added too much you are in trouble. Light soy sauce can be used as a substitute sometimes but in some recipes it is just rubbish. If it is too pungent for your tastes it is acceptable to water it down - some professional chefs do. Beware too if you are allergic to prawns(shrimp) as some fish sauce brands aren’t made from fish at all.

If you like Thai food I highly recommend David Thompson’s Thai Food. He is probably the premier Thai chef in the world and it all came about by accident - he ended up there by circumstance and absorbed the cooking ethos of an elderly woman.

It does make a difference which fish sauce you buy. Look for “Shrimp Brand”. it has strangely enough, a large shrimp on the pacakge, in a 700ml bottle. It’s made by Pantainorasingh. I find it has the best flavor of the readily available brands. Most of the little bottles of fish sauce are hideous.

Here’s a cookbook I highly recommend looking for : Thai Food by David Thompson. Some of the recipes look daunting until you realize you can skip most of the steps by using premade curry paste.

don’t ask and MikeG: Thanks for the recommendation on the book!

As for the fish sauce I bought, I can’t find an actual brand name on it (Hmmm, that kinda scares me), but it does say “product of Thailand”. I bought it in a little Asian food market near the air force base in Jacksonville. Am I supposed to have to shake it up? There seemed to be some sediment in it.

The book I have is True Thai by Victor Sodsook. It’s pretty hardcore traditional recipies with many hours of labor involved, but the results are good restaurant quality. Personally, I don’t care for the taste of picked bamboo shoots in my red curry, so next time I embark on an epic cooking quest I think I’ll leave those out.

As for the fish sauce, cheap sauce really tastes cheap and nasty, while good quality stuff can be used as a table condiment (sparingly; it’s still strong stuff), and not just for cooking. Soy sauce isn’t really a substitute - they’re both salty, but they have different flavors. A lot of recipies use both for depth of flavor.

I forgot to mention, sediment definitely means it’s a cheaper brand. It might taste ok to cook with, or it might be totally gross. The good stuff is a clear golden color. Generally, the more brown and cloudy it is, the worse it’ll taste.

I think we need to be a little more specific. Fish sauce should never be expensive, it just might be that some brands cost a bit more than others. We always get the squarish thin bottle with a green label and maybe there’s a squid or fish or something on the side. I’ll have to look at it at home later. Fish sauce (and I’m fairly sure this applies to all of them) will get a crystalline settlement at the bottom as the salt precipitates out of solution. This can happen in a large bottle that’s not used quickly enough.

As for condiments, it’s very normal for Thai’s to have a four condiment spice cart. Usually this is sugar, dry crushed pepper, vinegar (typically with sliced chilis) and fish sauce (also typically with sliced, smaller chilis).
As to the OP,

  1. No, but I’m pretty good at sizing the recipes to what feeds us. I always cook in a wok when I can, so what fits (comfortably) in a wok about feeds our family of four. Of course we only make one dish for a meal. If you visit a Thai family they will inevitably put out enough food for a small army. A polite greeting in Thai is “Have you eaten (had rice)?”
  2. You probably already know. It’s fermented fish. That’s also an ingredient in Worcestishire sauce, btw.
  3. No, but do you mean phad thai, which is actually not typically spicy, but needs to have eggs to be “true” to form, or phad kee mao, which is always spicy and IME does not always have eggs. Either way, you have to eat it, cook it however you want.
  4. Hopefully.

A fish sauce question. I like making Thai food but don’t do it often enough. How long will Fish Sauce keep in a refridgerator?

I don’t think you need to refrigerate it. It won’t spoil. Most Thais don’t own refrigerators, they just shop for that day’s food. Most of their condiments don’t spoil. Oyster Sauce would be the exception to that. It will start to crystalize after a while, though, so you should buy it in a smallish bottle. It should be under $2 for a bottle, IIRC.