Can You Substitute Fish Sauce for Dashi? These are better

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 18, 2020

We’ve all been there. We’re getting ready to prepare a meal only to find that we don’t have the ingredients we need.

We are wondering what we can use a substitute. But if we use the wrong ingredient, it can totally ruin the flavor of the meal.

If you are cooking Japanese cuisine and you are out of fish sauce, you might wonder if dashi will do the trick.

Read on to find out whether or not this will make a fitting substitute.

What is Dashi?

Dashi is a family of stocks used in Japanese cuisine. It is commonly used to make miso soup, clear broth, and noodle broth soup.

It can be used to provide an umami flavor. It can also be combined into flour bases to flavor dishes like okonomiyaki and Takoyaki.

What is Fish Sauce?

Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that has been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years. It is a staple seasoning in Asian cuisine.

Can You Substitute Fish Sauce for Dashi?

Both dashi and fish sauce can be used to provide a umami, or sweet and savory flavor, but each will give the dish an entirely different taste.

In all other circumstances, one should not be used instead of the other.

Dashi and fish sauce both provide a salty flavor so it is easy to see why some chefs would think that one would make a good alternate for another.

But what dashi lacks is the fishy taste. So, if you are looking for that in your food, you will be sorely disappointed.

What are Good Substitutes?

Fish sauce is essentially fish soy sauce. Therefore, soy sauce is most commonly used as an alternative for this condiment.

However, once again, you won’t get the fishy flavor you are looking for. It can also be replaced with the salty seasoning tamari shoyu.

If you are looking for an alternate for dashi, any other stocks that are umami based will work.

A light vegetable stock would be a worthy substitute or dashi variations like kombu dashi or dashi made of shitake mushrooms would also fill the void.

We have all of these dashi substitutes over here you can try out

So the next time you are out of fish sauce, don’t look at dashi to take its place. However, these other suggestions just might give your meal what it needs.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.