Good fish sauce is savory, salty, a little sweet, and full of umami. It’s an essential ingredient for many Korean dishes and a substitute for soup soy sauce in many of my recipes.

If you watch my videos you’ll see that I always use 3 Crabs brand fish sauce. It’s not made in Korea, but it is sold in Korean grocery stores because it’s very popular among Korean immigrants. My mom was the one who first suggested it to me and it’s the one I like the best.

You can use any brand of fish sauce, as long as it’s clear and brownish and tastes good.

3 crabs fish sauce

Recipes that use fish sauce (aekjeot):


  1. Asellia France joined 10/18 & has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi.
    I received your cookbook some days ago and I already tried some recipe. Today I was thinking on making fermented sardines along whith fermented squid, they were really cheap at the market so I couldn’t resist. In the book you said to just wash and pat dry the sardines, did you mean that I don’t need to remove the innards or the scales? If that’s the case that’s great, less work to do, and I wouldn’t remove them if it’s better to leave them as they are, but I am worried that it could give a bad taste to the sauce.
    Anyway, thanks for the book and all your recipes :-D

  2. Kishpai Florida joined 1/19 & has 3 comments

    Does opened fish sauce have to be refrigerated?

  3. Katty JF Chihuahua Mexico joined 9/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! Thank you so much for your recipes and sharing your love, culture and memories with us. In the area i live dont have too much asian stores, i culd by korean pepper flakes and make napa cabage kimichi once, which turna delicious… but i couldn’t find fish souce…. once surfing the web i find a recipe for a substittude: i share… please tell us if it culd work dor those qo cannot accede to buy some ingredients.

    100ml soy souce
    36 anchovies ( the canned ones) mashed or miced
    100ml water
    2 garlic cloves miced or shared
    1 pinch brown sugar

    Boil for 8-10 min and drain over a mesh, presing ancovies ans garlic pieces to drain all flavors, store in fridge

  4. Jy joined 6/15 & has 1 comment

    Dear Maangchi,

    Do you think this brand of Fish Sauce might be good:

    Thanks so much for spreading so much joy through your videos! :-)

    warmest regards,

  5. MeeAe Colorado joined 2/13 & has 11 comments

    I just wanted to post this for those of us who can’t eat gluten. Three crabs fish sauce has wheat in it, there are others that don’t. While I can no longer use 3 crabs, I use fish sauce that only contains fish and salt. Check your ingredients, if you are a celiac like me. Tiparos, red boat are good.

  6. Laleh7171 Iran joined 2/12 & has 2 comments

    Hi i can’t find fish souce in Iran , can i make it myself ? I love kimchi

  7. Linkelbell Simgapore joined 11/10 & has 5 comments

    HI maangchi I try to make the kimchi from your recipe but i can’t find the 3 crab fish sauce in singapore, so i use the thai fish sauce but the fish sauce smell was too strong. can i check with you can i use the anchovies sauce or eel fish sauce?

  8. luchin91 Quito, Ecuador joined 10/10 & has 1 comment

    I’ve got a question!.

    How salty is fish sauce?. As salty as soy sauce? or is fish sauce more salty or less salty than soy sauce?. I want to make kimchi, but I think I won’t be using fish sauce. I’ve seen some people have used soy sauce with kimchi, but I want to make sure on the quantity I’ll be using.

  9. Hi maangchi! Is fish sauce the same as “salted anchovy sauce”, or is that a specialized kind?

  10. Hi Maangchi! I finally decided to go out and buy some ingredients to cook some of your recipes!

    But I have a question about the fish sauce! Will the soft tofu stew taste different if I don’t add the fish sauce ?

  11. Tra Chang is another good brand of fish sauce.

  12. hmmm… i happen to have a bottle of “까나리 액젓” from years ago that is still unopened, because i didn’t brave it’s use. i got it at a korean market. can you find the three crab brand at a korean market? i suppose it depends on the area…

  13. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    yayee! yeah, it’s a little expensive, but delicious. My mother is using the brand name, too.

  14. i’m posting this to say that the three crabs brand you are showing here has really taken my dishes to another level. sooo much better than thai squid oder tiparos brands!
    thanks for the recommendation, i’m glad i paid the extra money for it.

  15. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    sure, you can use it, too,

  16. If I don’t have beef brisket, can I just use beef stock powder (dashida)?

  17. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    halloo hallo indri! : )
    Yes, just use sugar if you don’t have corn syrup.

  18. halloo maangchi….
    your videos really make my saliva drop….
    specially the sweet and crispy chicken wings….
    i really really want to make it…as soon as possible…
    but, it’s hardly to get the corn syrup here, in malaysia….
    so my q is….
    is it possible to make the sticky sauce without corn syrup????or anything to replace it???would the taste will be different???

    thx maangchi…..


  19. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    I don’t know how to make home made fish sauce.
    Go to the forum here and leave your question. Someone else might give you good answer.

    I used to make salty fermented anchovies (myulchi jeot: 멸치젓 in Korean) in Korea. I used fresh whole anchovies. After washing and draining, added sea salt to the anchovies and mixed them together. Then I put them in an earthenware and closed the lid.
    It takes about 3-4 months to get fermented fish. I used them for kimchi paste.

  20. Can I Make Fish Sauce At Home I Don’t Want To Waste My Money Tell Me How To Make Fish Sauce

  21. wow, you reply so fast, thanks!

  22. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    oh, you are living in Korea now. You can get either “까나리 액젓” or “멸치 액젓”. 액젓 means fish sauce in Korean. Its color is brown and clear. Update me how it goes. I’m curious about your adventurous Korean cooking in Korea. : )

  23. hey maangchi,

    first off, thanks again for all of this. today i got all the ingredients for gamja jorim, job chae, and soon dubu jjigae. but, i wasn’t able to find fish sauce at my market for the jjigae. i’m in korea, can you type in the hangul for this fish sauce so that i can write it down and take it in to my market? thanks! and of course i’ll let you know how it goes… :)


  24. WinLovesRain& has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I’m so glad to find your blog, always want to try the tofu dish! Is it ok if I use the Chinese tofu which comes in a square plastic box? As long as I use the soft kind?
    Thank you!!!

  25. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    If you don’t like fish sauce, just skip it. That’s it. : )

  26. Oh, I’m sorry. I meant to ask if there are any vegetarian alternatives for fish sauce. What would you suggest?

  27. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    vegetarian julia,
    soy sauce is made from soy beans. You can eat it. : )
    If you don’t like the flavor of soy sauce, why don’t you use just salt.

    I don’t have MySpace account. If you have questions, ask me through my blog. I will answer you asap.

    Thank you for your question!

  28. Annyeong! I’m a vegetarian. Is there anything I can use as a substitute? Soy sauce seems to be way too strong. Thanks for letting me know. Do you have a MySpace account?

  29. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    yes, you can use Thai fish sauce, too.

  30. hi maangchi…Can I use Thai fish sauce?


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