Fish sauce is a Southeast Asian staple, made by fermenting small, whole fish in brine, drawing off the liquid, and steeping that in the sunlight before it is bottled. In Vietnam, it is called nuoc mam, in Thailand, nam pla, and in the Philippines, patis. It has a very pungent, salty taste, and is an essential ingredient in many Asian dishes. A little goes a long way, and fish sauce can be stored in your kitchen cupboard for years.
Use: Usually used sparingly as flavouring in many Asian dishes (eg, stir fries) or as a condiment. It plays a broad role similar to that of soy sauce in Chinese and Japanese kitchen.