The Brilliant Vegan Fish Sauce

11th August 2013

What is a fish sauce? It is used as a condiment in various traditional cuisines, especially Vietnamese and Thai. You will find them in Asian fish soups, curries, Pho, dipping sauce that can be used as a dip for spring rolls, as a dressing for rice and noodles, or even laap (a northern Thai minced meat ‘salad’ dressed in fresh herbs, chiles, toasted rice powder and eaten with sticky rice). The list goes on.

Rika's The Brilliant Vegan Fish Sauce

The fish sauce is known for its very smelly and fishy odors. I do recall smelling that savory scents somewhere at a crowded fishing dock in Taiwan, but not as bad as the sewage. As much as I adore the fish and the sea creatures, I’ve decided to veganize a fish sauce. It will be called, “The Brilliant Vegan Fish Sauce.” I’ve used it in my laap (which will be featured later on a vegan resource, so stay tuned), cold noodles and even noodle soups so far. It is probably one of our favorite homemade condiments.

Rika's The Brilliant Vegan Fish Sauce

The Brilliant Vegan Fish Sauce has very few simple ingredients, but you will need to have the right ingredients to make it:

• canned or fresh pineapple juice (needs to be 100% juice): this produces the funky smell.
• raw turbinado sugar: I use it in my vegan Asian cuisine. It is different than a traditional brown sugar because of its caramel color.
• light soy sauce: It’s different than regular soy sauce or tamari. It is lighter in color and saltier than a soy sauce, and common in Chinese cooking. I used the brand Pearl River Bridge Superior Light Soy Sauce. It is GMO-free and no artificial colourings are added.

Rika's The Brilliant Vegan Fish Sauce

The Brilliant Vegan Fish Sauce (Gluten-Free option)

Yield: about ½ cup or 125 mL


  • ¼ cup warm filtered or spring water
  • 2 Tbsp. raw turbinado sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh or canned 100% pineapple juice
  • 2 Tbsp. light soy sauce or tamari* (GF option available, see Notes below)
  • Add salt to taste


Stir the water and sugar together in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Add the pineapple juice and light soy sauce and mix well.

Refrigerate in a glass container or jar with a lid for an hour or so. This can last up to 3-4 days.


Light soy sauce: I use this brand, Pearl River Bridge Superior Light Soy Sauce. It is GMO-free and contains no artificial colors. You can find it at local Asian markets or via Light soy sauce is different than low-sodium or lite soy sauce, it is saltier than the soy sauce.

GF Option: I’ve received testing notes from my fans/readers and they claimed that the tamari is a good alternative to light soy sauce. So use 2 Tbsp. tamari instead of light soy sauce.
This is my version since it is my intention to make it saltier like ‘light soy sauce’: instead of 2 Tbsp. light soy sauce, use 1 Tbsp. GF tamari and a bit of salt. You want it to be slightly saltier and lighter.

Advance Preparation: Store it in covered container or jar in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Make it if the recipe that calls for fish sauce.

Rika's The Brilliant Vegan Fish Sauce

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