Every healthy people studied by Dr. Weston A. Price had sacred foods—foods that were so nutritious and renewing that the people held them sacred. These foods were packed full of all kinds of nutrients. They were used to increase fertility, help recovery from illness and wounds, and to promote general good health.
One of the most common sacred foods throughout history has many names. The Ancient Greeks called it garos, and ate it with every meal. The Ancient Romans called it garum, and used it to season almost all soups, meat and fish dishes, and as a table condiment that was always available. The Chinese called it ke-tsiap, and used it extensively. The Malays called it ke-chap, and also used it for cooking and in condiments. The Vietnamese called it nuoc mam, and used it extensively in cooking, and served it as a condiment, often mixed with other ingredients. In fact, this sacred food was used throughout the traditional world, and was still in use in relatively modern times.
We know it as fish sauce. In its traditional form, fish sauce was made from tiny fish, usually anchovies, and sea salt, fermented over a very long period of time, then pressed, which caused all the nutrients from the tiny whole fish to dissolve into a tasty brown liquid, full of valuable nutrients from the sea.
However, as with so many other foods, the modern food industry ruined it for profit. They used inferior fish, often from polluted waters, diluted it with water, used quick chemical fermentation, used factory salt, added MSG and other taste enhancers, and various sweeteners. The result was a concoction that often had very little nutritional benefit, and was full of nasty additives. A few brands were much better than the others, but the traditional sacred condiment of our ancestors was just not available.
Until now. Until Red Boat Fish Sauce was created and made available.
Why Fish Sauce Is a Sacred Food
Nearly all of the healthy peoples studied by Dr. Weston A. Price greatly valued foods from the sea and sea nutrients, and would go to great efforts to get them. Many of the foods from the sea they obtained were fermented, in one form or another. These people stayed free of modern diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, birth defects, tooth decay, and others by eating the traditional foods of their ancestors. Fermented food from the sea was often a valued part of their diet.
In its traditional form, fish sauce is made from the entire bodies of tiny fish, and sea salt. Nothing else is added. The fermentation process turns the tiny fish into a brown liquid. Since the entire fish is used, all the organs, bones, meat, and skin of the fish are used to make the liquid, which is literally pressed from the fermented fish. This means that you get all the nutrients of the fish, which are rich in minerals, vitamins, all kinds of natural substances that our bodies need and crave. I cannot think of a better source of natural iodine, among many other valuable nutrients.
Much of the soil our food is raised on is mineral-depleted, but the ocean is still full of minerals and nutrients, which are contained in these tiny fish. The process concentrates the nutrients of the fish into the liquid, making it a natural mineral concentrate. And the precious liquid contains all the substances from all the organs and glands of the fish. Our ancestors traditionally would eat the whole fish, knowing how valuable these nutrients are. Even small amounts of this liquid are very nutritious, because the nutrients are concentrated in the liquid.
The Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans, two of the healthiest and most powerful of ancient peoples, ate fish sauce in some form every day, often at every meal. It was used both as an ingredient and a condiment. Huge amounts of fish sauce were shipped all over the Roman Empire, and there were many different brands. In fact, the discovery of an ancient Roman ship loaded with jars of fish sauce revealed that some brands were even labeled Kosher!
Why Red Boat Is Different, and So Much Better
I decided to add fish sauce to my diet after reading Sally Fallon Morell’s classic cookbook, Nourishing Traditions. I wanted the concentrated sea nutrients it contained.
There are many fish sauces on the market. I have tried many of them. Many tasted so bad that I would never use them again. Others were full of additives that I do not want in my body. Others were so diluted with water that they had little or no flavor. I finally found a brand, recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation that tasted and felt good. Yet even this brand had some sugar added to it. Then I tasted Red Boat Fish Sauce a couple of months ago. Now Red Boat is the only fish sauce I ever want to use.
Red Boat Fish Sauce is made from only two ingredients, black anchovy, and sea salt. The anchovies are caught from the clean, unpolluted waters of the Phu Quoc Archipelago. Phu Quoc Island has long been famous in Vietnam for producing the finest fish sauce.
The anchovies are salted quickly after being caught, while very fresh. They are placed in barrels made of tropical wood, and allowed to ferment for over one year. Yes, over a year. Then the fermented fish are pressed, and the liquid from the first pressing only is bottled as Red Boat Fish Sauce. This is as basic, pure, and traditional as you can get. This technology could have been used thousands of years ago. The process is artisanal, not industrial. This process preserves and enhances the many nutrients from the whole fish, turning them into a form that is easy to digest and assimilate. Like all such traditional processes, it sounds simple, but every step must be done perfectly, by skilled artisans.
The fact that no additives, chemicals, flavor enhancers, preservatives, sweeteners, etc. are added means that your body is presented with pure, vital nutrients from the sea, and nothing that will interfere with their digestion and absorption.
Yet the other great difference in Red Boat Fish Sauce is the taste. It is somewhat salty, yet not too salty. It has a rich, slightly sweet, yet very complex and deep flavor. It does wonderful things to the flavor of food. I have many recipes calling for fish sauce in my two cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue. I recently made a number of these recipes for my family, using Red Boat instead of the other fish sauce. Each time, my family commented on how good the dish tasted, even better than usual. I could taste the difference for myself, easily. The flavor was deeper, tastier, richer, and utterly delicious. And the usual feeling of well being and satisfaction I get from my cooking was even more profound.
I now withdraw my recommendation of the fish sauce mentioned in my books, and recommend that it be replaced with Red Boat Fish Sauce, in every recipe.
How I Use Red Boat Fish Sauce
My two cookbooks are soy-free, yet contain various East Asian inspired recipes. I use fish sauce instead of soy sauce in these recipes. The taste is not the same as using soy sauce, but it is wonderful. It is even better with Red Boat.
I will add fish sauce as an ingredient to soups. My version of Hot and Sour Soup, which will be published in a future book, became the best ever, after I used Red Boat Fish Sauce in it. Even a tablespoon or so will add a lot of flavor and nutrition, although I usually use more than that.
I drink homemade bone broth every day, as a vital part of my nutritional program. I now will often add a teaspoon or more of Red Boat Fish Sauce to my cup of broth. Not only does this really improve the already wonderful flavor, but it contributes valuable nutrients that make the broth even healthier.
I am developing a number of new recipes that use Red Boat Fish Sauce as an ingredient. Many of these recipes have Roman or Ancient Greek roots, and Red Boat makes them so much better.
Why Did I Write this Post? Because this Product Is a Treasure!
I know this post seem like a commercial for Red Boat Fish Sauce. But I receive no compensation for writing this, or recommending the product. This is one of the very few times in my life that I have found a truly natural and traditional food product which is so outstanding, in every way—that I have to spread the word about it. I do have an ulterior motive, though. I want Red Boat Fish Sauce to thrive as a company and enjoy great financial success, because I want them to stay in business and keep making this amazing product, so I can continue to enjoy the nutritional and taste benefits it brings.
I also want to express my deep personal gratitude to Cuong Pham, the founder and owner of Red Boat Fish Sauce, who has restored a wonderful traditional food to the world, and made it available to us.
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