Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Red Boat Nước Mấm Rocks!

Being Việt , I don't have a fear of fish sauce.  I use nước mấm with a lot of things besides Vietnamese food--eggs, bone broth, any soup or stew, salad dressing, meat marinade, quinoa, thai food, cambodian food, laotian food, adobo chicken/pork, pasta puttanesca or pasta sauce, kimchi, kimchi jigae, miyuk gook, and an experimental dessert (in progress)--typically in place of or to enhance sea salt.  Because fish sauce is fermented and nutritionally dense, I add it at the end of cooking after the stove is turned off when possible.  No sense in cooking off those nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, etc.

I only use locally-headquartered Red Boat Fish Sauce (Milpitas, CA).  Red Boat is a nutritionally dense, fermented sacred food meaning it is a nutrient-dense food vital to a cultural foodway prepared according to a centuries if not millenia-old method with whole ingredients.

I don't know about "The Best in The World" business, I mean in Việt Nam most families worth their salt make their own nước mấm.  And every family knows their homemade nước mấm is The Best.  For those who've relocated to urban areas and no longer make their own, they will go to great lengths to return to the mother's family home and bring home batches and batches of nước mấm.  (Aside: I actually have a funny somewhat related anecdote about flying in-country with mấm and mít|jackfruit when my husband, siblings and I went to VN together in 2007, but I'll save that for another post/blog or in person recounting.  You kinda have to know what mấm and mít are and be familiar with Công Sản officiousness to get the humor in it.  Like many anecdotes it's the telling of it that is so hilarious.)  Weo, I guess "Best Commercially Produced Fish Sauce Export in the World" didn't really have that je ne sai quoi ring to it.  I would be remiss not to mention that Red Boat is winning the approval of all sorts of celebrity chefs and foodies all over the US.  I won't name drop, because I am bad with names and what is with the cult of personality anyways.  Just google it.

Nước mấm taste test --Don't try this at home, kids!
After doing a nước mấm taste test on a "hot date night" (which was exactly what you think a fish sauce taste test would be like on a date night for a domesticated couple), I will credit it with "Best Fish Sauce in the Western Hemisphere" for sure.  I expect there to be a vast quantity of inferior bootleg versions of this in the next year--Gold Boat, Red Yacht, 2 Red Boats, 3 Red Boats, 2 Red Boats and a Dinghy.  I hope Red Boat has a good trademark lawyer...

Anyheo, I am currently was organizing a wholesale coop for Red Boat for Holistic Moms Network Tri-City & San Jose chapters and my phamily & homies in the Bay and SoCal with the approval of the gracious owner Cường Phạm (no relation, that I know of.  I mean, one never knows.  Obama and every US President but one is related to King John of England for pete's sake.  Yeah, King John of Robin Hood notoriety.  Deep innit?).  I can be a little ... enthusiastic about things I like (see pimping pork for example).  I seriously was on the verge of fermenting my own fish sauce when hallelujah, I found Red Boat--saving me the hassle of sweet-talking the husband, finding a spigot crock, sourcing sustainable, wild caught anchovies, fermenting dead fish, fobbing off angry neighbors and intrepid/gangsta racoons (if you don't know about the gangsta racoons of Alameda County, weo count yourself lucky).  My husband is relieved and instead my phamily, friends, acquaintances, strangers, Sunset magazine, the universe has to put up with me singing the praises of Red Boat and hella dissing whatever piss-swill fish sauce they use (it's endearing in context, really).  FYI I will seriously throw-down epidemiology with any MD who spuriously claims that fish sauce causes strokes.  Let's see the correlating research on say, the entire subcontinent of Southeast Asia, controlled studies, or did med school not teach them evidence-based medicine?  I was not a research analyst for almost a decade without knowing a thing or two about substantive proof.  Fear of salt is yet another American cultural myth while fear of the lack of salt is a colonized people's legacy.

The order ended up being 9 cases which totally exceed my expectation for 3 cases.  I should have just gotten 10 cases because there were a lot of latecomers who wanted in and I am not willing to break into my personal reserves and it also makes a great gift.  My aunty Len, the Phamily matriarch, says the company should give me free fish sauce for being a one-woman promotional dervish.  Never mind the fish sauce, I want stock options!  (Actually, anh Cường, I'd be happy with free nước mấm or like y'know, a bad-ass Red Boat t-shirt/swag. Just sayin'.)

I am usually too busy cooking or eating or doing stuff to make food porn.  I do have a few relevant photos scattered over various social media sites so I'll dig them up eventually and add them to this particular post here.  I'm a busy work-at-home mom starting up a new birth support worker business, freelance writing, making art, following my bliss, living and loving, on top of the blogging.  Hence the sporadic nature of my posts.  (FYI there's several drafts in the queue--local organic meat sources, nước cốt dừa|coconut milk, Brown Rice Bánh Xèo|Savory Crepes, Bún Măng Vịt|Duck & bamboo soup, Bánh Da Lợn|Pandan Mung bean cake-ish whence we get into the origins of the name, and Râu Câu|Seaweed jelly birthday cake using homemade fruit food coloring--so subscribe to my blog for updates on the food front.)

As with all my recipes, I try to use organic or sustainably produced ingredients where possible.  It just tastes better.  Also, I eliminate wheat, dairy, soy (when possible), chemical additives, and refined sugars.

Recipes below:
  1. Anchovy Salad Dressing
  2. Gỏi|Slaw
  3. Gỏi Cun|Spring rolls
  4. Nước Mấm Pha|Dipping sauce

Ăn Ngon Lành|Eat Delectably!

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