Fish Sauce and Its Implications

I admit that I as I grow older I’m developing an aversion to foods and smells less familiar to me, yet my tolerance levels for other things has grown. I’m sure we all know someone who has ventured in the opposite direction, becoming increasing intolerant of others and differing beliefs. Then there are those that have lived a mostly moderate life, stuck in the middle of every type of spectrum. Not so much ruffled by opposing beliefs and keeping an open mind on the outside while harboring the murmurs of conflict within. Those are the type of people that can go either way, like a swinging pendulum, unpredictably dangerous or delightfully surprising. I’m like a pendulum then.

Over a year ago I entered a Thai restaurant and had to bolt. Was it the peanut sauce permeating throughout the small dining room? I really don’t know. Then I tried to enjoy Dim Sum a few months ago, but couldn’t get past the exotic aromas circling around me in a continuous taunt like a schoolyard game. So tonight I challenged myself and decided to open my newly purchased bottle of fish sauce to prepare a recipe for sticky ribs. As they cooked in the oven, the brown sugar, soy and fish sauce caramelizing to a deep brown glaze, the odor was enough to send me outside. If there was any question about what fish sauce smells like, just look at the ingredient list: anchovies. Worried that others in the house would pick up on the scent and react as I did, I doused the ribs in bottled hickory barbecue sauce. After a bit more time in the oven, everyone devoured them and no one was the wiser.

My pendulum continues to swing, but I’m quite content with the direction.


One thought on “Fish Sauce and Its Implications

  1. Glad you’ve discovered the joys of stinky fish sauce. 🙂
    So many fermented foods don’t smell too great — from cheeses to kimchi. But man, oh man, are they fantastic tasting.

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