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Vegetarian Substitute for Fish Sauce

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A sauce is a liquid, cream, or fairly solid dish that is served on top of or used to make other foods. These sauces aren’t designed to be eaten on their own; instead, they’re used to enhance the flavor, texture, and visual appeal of a meal. Fish sauce is one condiment that has a lot of this. Its delectable flavor is sought after all over the globe, and it is also one of those sauces that goes well with a variety of cuisines.


Fish Sauce Nutrition Facts

Vegetarian Substitute for Fish Sauce

Finding a vegetarian substitute for fish sauce might be difficult, but it is important to note that it is not impossible. Soy sauce and tamari are both fantastic options to consider since they may be used in a variety of dishes.

What is Fish Sauce?

Vegetarian Substitute for Fish Sauce

Sauces are wet or liquid components that are added to a meal to provide taste distinctiveness. Classic examples of sauces used with a certain cuisine are Asian noodles with black bean sauce and grilled meat with barbecue sauce. It enhances the texture and taste of a food while also adding moisture. Sauces also provide visual attractiveness to the cuisine.

To make fish sauce, salt the fish and ferment it for two years. It is a vital condiment in both East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. Its popularity stems from the umami taste imparted by the glutamate component of fish sauce. Between the 4th and 3rd century BC, the Ancient Greeks created the earliest known variation. Fish sauce (nampla, uoc mam, and patis) is used as a flavoring and base for dipping sauces before and after cooking.

Fish Sauce Uses in Recipes

Chefs and amateur cooks who appreciate utilizing sauces utilize fish sauce in a variety of dishes. The salty, savory smell of fresh fish sauce might be overwhelming. When cooked, it softens and imparts a delicious umami taste. The best fish sauces have a mild nuttiness that makes them perfect for a variety of dishes.

A meal that is missing a sauce seems unfinished. The majority of sauces provide texture, complimentary tastes, juiciness, and aesthetic appeal. And it is for this reason that they are a common addition in many families. And fish sauce excels at these characteristics, resulting in a creamy sauce component that can be utilized in almost any dish. These properties also enable it to readily combine with other ingredients, providing creaminess and a wonderful taste to the completed dish.

Fish sauce is a common component in a range of cuisines and recipes due to its distinct taste qualities, including the following:

  • Thai pineapple shrimp curry
  • Banh mi burgers
  • Chicken ramen bowl
  • Baked pompano
  • Chef Johns grilled flap steak
  • Cambodia ginger catfish
  • Vietnamese lemongrass beef and noodles
  • Grilled sea bass with chili-lime dressing
  • Thai green curry meatballs
  • Ginataangalimasag (grabs in coconut milk)
  • Stir-fried tofu with cashews
  • Banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes)
  • Easy panang curry with chicken
  • Garlic-mushroom chicken thigh stir-fry
  • Caramel chicken
  • Thai-dipped beef tri-tip

Vegetarian Substitutes for Fish Sauce

If you are a vegetarian, you may not want fish sauce in your cuisine, yet in certain cases, the recipe may ask for fish sauce to be produced. You may be in severe need of a vegetarian fish sauce alternative for these and other reasons.

The taste is the most significant aspect when searching for a fish sauce alternative. As a consequence, you may use any of the following substitutes for fish sauce in your cuisine. Be aware that some may have a different flavor than it, and some may even provide you with a flavor you like. Check these out:

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a Chinese condiment made from fermented soybean paste, toasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae mold. Because it has a strong umami taste, it may be used as a vegetarian substitute for fish sauce.

Soy sauce comes in three varieties: light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and regular soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is used for color and taste, while light soy sauce is used to season foods without overpowering them with soy flavor or imparting them a dark color. Fish sauce may be substituted for soy sauce in a 1:1 ratio.


Tamari (sometimes known as tamari shoyu) is a Japanese fermented soybean sauce. This one has a firmer texture and a more balanced taste than Chinese soy sauce, making it an ideal dipping sauce. It’s also vegan and gluten-free. Among the components are water, salt, and miso paste made from soybeans.

Use tamari directly from the bottle to add salt, umami, and additional nutrients to dishes. It contains little to no wheat, unlike soy sauce, making it a good gluten-free choice. Examine the label to ensure if the product is gluten-free. Take note that tamari has a salty flavor. Replace fish sauce with tamari in a 1:1 ratio, or add tamari gradually while cooking.

Vegan Fish Sauce

Vegan fish sauce pairs well with a variety of Asian dishes. It adds a delicious taste and makes a big difference when creating new dishes. It enhances the taste of meals such as ramen, noodles, and even other sauces.

Shiitake mushrooms, liquid aminos, and soy sauce are all popular ingredients. This delicious and salty vegan substitute for fish sauce is great for Asian recipes and should be used in a one-to-one replacement ratio.

Coconut Aminos

This gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free fish sauce alternative is delicious. Coconut aminos, which are derived from fermented coconut sap, are easy to include into a variety of dishes. They are deeper in color and somewhat tastier than soy and fish sauce, with a strong umami taste. It also has less salt than fish sauce, making it a suitable replacement. In most recipes, a one-to-one substitute for fish sauce will suffice.


Seaweed is high in nutrients and high in glutamate, an amino acid with a unique umami taste. As a consequence, they are often used in soups and stews in Japanese and Korean cuisine.

Fresh or dried seaweed is a good substitute for fish sauce. Fresh seaweed is useful in salads, soups, and sauces, while dried seaweed may be used in a variety of dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it possible to omit fish sauce from a recipe?

Yes, if you don’t want to use fish sauce, you may make the dish without it. Although it adds flavor to Southeast Asian dishes, it is not a necessary ingredient in many of them.

Can vegetarians have fish sauce?

It is not suited for vegetarians since it is produced from the body of an animal.

What is the difference between soy sauce and fish sauce?

Soy sauce is manufactured from fermented soybeans and wheat, while fish sauce is derived from fermented fish. Both look to be two distinct colors of brown.


While fish sauce is a delicious condiment in many kitchens across Southeast Asia and the globe, it is not suitable for vegetarians. As a consequence, if you’re a vegetarian looking to try some fish sauce dishes, our recommended alternatives will be useful. You should examine whether they are a suitable fit for your tastes. Because of their texture and taste, they are suitable for a variety of dishes.


What can you use instead of fish sauce?

Soy sauce. Anyone looking for a fish sauce alternative may combine soy sauce with vinegar or chopped anchovies to obtain a flavor similar to fish sauce. People may also prepare broth using soy sauce, either alone or with mushrooms.

Can you get vegetarian fish sauce?

Vegan and vegetarian friendly. This vegetarian and vegan-friendly version is produced from seaweed and has a savory-salty flavor that will appeal to anybody looking for an authentic Thai flavor. It is an excellent substitute for traditional fish sauce and may be used in stir-fry, soup, or noodle dishes.

Can vegans use fish sauce?

Is it possible to make vegan fish sauce? No, it is not a vegan cuisine since the main component in fish sauce is fish. It is, however, a safe meal for pescatarians to consume since it does not normally include any other animal products. While traditional fish sauce is not vegan, there are vegan variants available in stores.

Can I skip fish sauce in a recipe?

Fish sauce is sometimes used as a supplemental ingredient to provide a quirky twist to the taste of a meal. Because it is often utilized in little amounts, it is frequently omitted. We use it to add umami to our Coconut Shrimp Curry and Best Fried Rice, but it’s optional.

How important is fish sauce in a recipe?

When tossed into marinades, stir-fries, and salad dressings, it offers you a little bit of everything, and it’s just as beneficial in non-Asian cuisine. A dash of fish sauce may add salty, savory flavor to sautéed vegetables, pastas, roast chicken, and broths.

Can I replace fish sauce with hoisin?

Because of its umami taste, hoisin sauce may be used in place of fish sauce. To replace fish sauce with hoisin sauce, combine hoisin sauce and soy sauce in a 1:1 ratio. This balances out the richness of the hoisin sauce. Then, in equal parts, replace fish sauce with the mixture.

What do vegans use for fish flavor?

You may add seaweed to provide a true ocean flavor by using kelp flakes, dulce flakes, or crushed up bits of seaweed. Lemon juice and nutritional yeast, whether used in the preparation or added at the end, are other common ingredients in many fish recipes.

What is vegetarian fish sauce made of?

It’s essentially a highly concentrated broth flavored with soy sauce (shoyu, tamari, or gluten-free Bragg’s Liquid Aminos), dried mushrooms, seaweed, and a few garlic cloves. The broth is cooked and reduced, concentrating the flavors.

Is Worcestershire sauce fish based?

Worcestershire sauce is a barbecue sauce that is usually created using a time-consuming procedure that includes anchovies, a species of fish. Using fish as a sauce for meat is a typical example of the ban against eating meat and fish together.

Can I sub Worcestershire for fish sauce?

Sauce Worcestershire

According to Lawson, this popular sauce is produced with anchovies and tamarind, thus the taste profiles are quite similar. “Use it sparingly,” she warns. Because the substance is potent, just a few drops will suffice.

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