Fish sauce

Aekjeot 액젓

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. Jy joined 6/15
    Posted June 23rd, 2015 at 6:46 pm | # |

    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,

    • Emelius Busan, South Korea joined 4/17
      Posted April 19th, 2017 at 12:38 am | # |

      Is this an ingredient common in Korea? Im having trouble finding it here.. They usually sell about 15 different kinds of soy sauce and one kind of vinegar, but no fish sauce :(

  2. MeeAe Colorado joined 2/13
    Posted January 6th, 2014 at 2:44 am | # |

    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.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 24th, 2015 at 6:14 am | # |

      Thank you for sharing the information with us!

  3. Laleh7171 Iran joined 2/12
    Posted February 24th, 2012 at 10:19 am | # |

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

  4. Linkelbell Simgapore joined 11/10
    Posted November 2nd, 2010 at 9:55 am | # |

    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?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted November 2nd, 2010 at 12:16 pm | # |

      If the fish sauce flavor is too strong for you, use less amount. You could use Thai fish sauce or anchovy fish sauce, but I don’t know much about eel fish sauce.

      • Linkelbell Simgapore joined 11/10
        Posted November 6th, 2010 at 11:45 pm | # |

        Hi Maangchi,
        Thanks so much for your advise, the kimchi was great. But what should i do with the water come out from the kimchi??

  5. luchin91 Quito, Ecuador joined 10/10
    Posted October 18th, 2010 at 5:47 am | # |

    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.

  6. lucette joined 8/10
    Posted August 13th, 2010 at 11:25 pm | # |

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

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted August 15th, 2010 at 8:06 am | # |

      This 3 crab fish sauce is my favorite fish sauce.

  7. Laura
    Posted August 7th, 2009 at 4:31 am | # |

    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 ?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted August 7th, 2009 at 7:13 am | # |

      You could use salt or soy sauce instead of fish sauce. Don’t forget to make delicious stock before adding the soft tofu.

  8. rv65
    Posted July 19th, 2009 at 1:55 am | # |

    Tra Chang is another good brand of fish sauce.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 19th, 2009 at 7:05 am | # |

      oh, really? I should try it later. I found this on the internet

      • rv65
        Posted July 30th, 2009 at 4:01 am | # |

        Actually I’ve never tried tra chang but heard it’s a good brand. I did however, purchase the 3 crabs brand since thats what the Korean market had. They also had Tiparos. Do you have to refrigerate it or is it shelf stable?

  9. Jina
    Posted June 9th, 2009 at 9:05 pm | # |

    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…

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 9th, 2009 at 10:00 pm | # |

      kanari fish sauce (까나리 액젓) is good! Be brave to use it. : )
      3 crab fish sauce is sold at an Asian grocery store.

  10. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
    Posted March 29th, 2009 at 11:18 am | # |

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

  11. chris
    Posted March 28th, 2009 at 7:28 pm | # |

    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.

  12. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
    Posted January 25th, 2009 at 5:46 pm | # |

    sure, you can use it, too,

  13. Anonymous
    Posted January 25th, 2009 at 5:39 pm | # |

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

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 17th, 2009 at 9:14 pm | # |

      i think dashida is MSG, not beef stock powder.

  14. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
    Posted October 10th, 2008 at 4:28 pm | # |

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

  15. indri
    Posted October 10th, 2008 at 7:49 am | # |

    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…..


  16. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
    Posted October 10th, 2008 at 6:55 am | # |

    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.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted October 10th, 2008 at 12:23 am | # |

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

  18. alivia
    Posted October 1st, 2008 at 8:00 am | # |

    wow, you reply so fast, thanks!

  19. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
    Posted September 30th, 2008 at 11:08 pm | # |

    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. : )

  20. alivia
    Posted September 30th, 2008 at 10:57 pm | # |

    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… :)


  21. WinLovesRain
    Posted September 13th, 2008 at 3:11 pm | # |

    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!!!

  22. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
    Posted June 23rd, 2008 at 7:12 am | # |

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

  23. Julia
    Posted June 22nd, 2008 at 4:03 pm | # |

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

  24. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
    Posted June 22nd, 2008 at 8:34 am | # |

    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!

  25. Julia
    Posted June 21st, 2008 at 10:42 pm | # |

    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?

  26. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
    Posted June 21st, 2008 at 1:28 pm | # |

    yes, you can use Thai fish sauce, too.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted June 21st, 2008 at 12:37 am | # |

    hi maangchi…Can I use Thai fish sauce?


    • yee yee
      Posted April 20th, 2009 at 2:57 am | # |

      hi i want to buy this fish sauce which is show in the internet , where can i buy if im in seoul now?


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