By Matt Neundorf
on 4.19.12
Photo by Red Boat

Umami is a term borrowed from the Japanese, roughly meaning “pleasant savory taste”. In 1985 umami was officially recognized as the fifth basic taste profile, joining salty, sweet, sour and bitter on your tongue. Red Boat Fish Sauce ($10~$20) is an artisanal, first press “extra virgin” fish sauce from Vietnam; and its quite simply umami in a bottle.

The unique concoction was developed by Vietnamese American Cuong Pham, to bring the deeply complex savoriness from his Vietnamese childhood to market shelves near you. While the man credited with finding umami (Kikunae Ikeda) is also responsible for MSG, don’t look for any chemical tinkering here. Red Boat uses only two ingredients and time; Fresh black anchovies and salt. The anchovies are caught in the crystal clear waters near the Phu Quoc archipelago, and instantly salted. They are then aged and fermented for over a year in traditional wooden barrels, distilling a complex combination of sweet, salty and savory flavor profiles into one magic elixir. Dash some in the next time you’re slaving behind the stove and we promise not to snitch about your secret ingredient.

Buy Now: $10+

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