Some sauces are clear in consistency as they are often removed or refined from a more dense mixture of cured fish, while others are cloudy and appear more like a pureed food substance. Bagoong has the opaque or pureed consistency and often is produced with whole anchovy filets in the sauce to improve the flavor. Many Fish Sauces are made with Anchovies which are the species of fish typically prepared to produce Bagoong Monamon. However, other varieties or combinations of fish are also used to make Fish Sauce, such as mackerel, tuna, shrimp, and squid. Sauces made with 100% of a specific variety of fish, like anchovies, are considered to be the best tasting of the Fish Sauces.
Fish Sauce has a sharp, salty taste with a strong aroma that is used as a seasoning or condiment to enhance the flavor of various foods. It is popular in Southeast Asian dishes and can be found in many Asian markets. The traditional Fish Sauce is known as nuoc nam in Vietnam, patis in the Philippines, nam pla in Thailand, and shottsuru in Japan. Fish Sauce may also be referred to as fish gravy in some regions.
Fish Sauce is generally not served separately as a topping sauce or seasoning due to its overpowering flavor. Instead, it is most often used on foods that may have already been flavored with other seasonings or sauces. And, if desired, it can be tempered by adding sugar and lime juice to make it less intense in flavor for use as a dipping sauce with vegetables or wrapped foods, such as spring rolls.