The Best Place To Store Fish Sauce So The Smell Stays In The Bottle

Fish sauce was first discovered by humans thousands of years ago. According to the World History Encyclopedia, fish sauce may have been produced as early as the 7th century BCE by the ancient Greeks along the Black Sea. The Romans were known to have utilized garum, their version of fish sauce, widely, while the Carthaginians were known to be traders of fish sauce.

Today, fish sauce is commonly used in Asian cuisine, which all have their own unique take on it. In fact, there are 14 popular fish sauces around the world, including Vietnamese nuoc mam, Thai nam pla, and Burmese ngan-pya-ye. If you've ever tried cooking Asian cuisine (or plan to), then chances are, you've picked up a bottle of fish sauce from your local Asian market, grocery store, or online. Now that you have it, where exactly should you be storing it, so that the admittedly pungent fishy smell doesn't spread to, well, everything?

Don't store your fish sauce in the pantry

Fish sauce is made from fermenting fish. While anchovy is one of the most common kinds of fish used to make fish sauce, other options include mackerel, sandfish, sand lance, squid, and shrimp, among others. Not surprisingly, the result is a briny and umami-rich flavor that smells much like it tastes — a potent and pungent fish sauce. And while it may be tempting to store your fish sauce in the pantry, as you would other condiments like soy sauce, the best location for it, at least if you don't want to smell to overwhelm, is your fridge.

According to Eating Well, warm temperatures can cause gas to build up inside the bottle of fish sauce, and once opened, the fishy gases and smell will spread outside the bottle. For that reason, your fridge is a better choice. As Viet World Kitchen explains, the higher the nitrogen levels in the fish sauce, which tends to indicate higher umami intensity, the more delicate it is, and the more likely it is to develop gas inside the bottle — you should definitely store those bottles in the fridge. Per Does It Go Bad, keeping your fish sauce in the fridge also helps maintain its quality for longer: while fish sauce should be good for three to six months in the pantry, it will last more than a year in the fridge.