Or can I leave it in a pantry? How long does it last in the fridge, and outside of the fridge, after opening?
Not need what so ever to refrigerate. What ever fermentation happens has already happened so it's not going to go bad.
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All good points. I want to also add that fish sauce is not something I suggest purchasing in cheap plastic bottles. One such bottle developed a small leak while sitting in my fridge. Took me a week to figure out what had died in my apartment.
I once spilled like two drops in my truck after a catering event. I had to HEAVY on the air fresheners for weeks. It was basically the fish sauce's truck.
Sounds about right hahaha. Every time I use mine, I don't even touch the bottle, let alone the cap, without wrapping the whole thing in paper towels first, just in case of any drips - don't want that shit on my skin or in my fridge! (Yes I know you don't HAVE to keep it in the fridge, but that is where mine lives anyway)
Refrigerate to keep the quality. Will be fine at room temperature but quality goes downhill faster. You will notice it go from clear to cloudy.
I do refrigerate it because I have had one in room temperature and it turned dark and opaque after about half a year, an the smell and taste became more funky than fishy/umami.
Fish sauce does not need to be refrigerated after opening, unless you cook thai food very infrequently.
Store with the lid snapped shut in a cool place in your cupboard and keep the cap snapped tightly as exposure to air can turn the sauce darker in color and evaporation can intensify its saltiness.
If you use your fish sauce very rarely, salt will eventually crystallize on the bottom of the bottle, but it should still be fine to use. The sea salt in fish sauce preserves it indefinitely.
May I add that Red Boat 40n was rated top in world and I can attest only as a user, not a shill or rep - that it is far better than the cheaper you get at the super that are almost ALL from "concentrate" - Red Boat is first press virgin fish sauce from anchovies made in VN... order it online you'll be happy you did.
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