When I was little, in my village, any home selling fish sauce can be known right away, because I could hear the typical smell from afar. Sometimes, my mom told me to hold a 75ml bottle (banana leaf button) to go to buy fish sauce. Every time I went to his house, I wondered if living in a house with wandering smell of fish sauce like this affected the sense of smelling? Since I was little, I have been practising very hard on my ears, nose, and throat.
And every time I went to buy fish sauce like that, or every time I used fish sauce, or just touching the banana leaf button, I would always have to wash my hands with soap to ease the smell. And if I accidentally dropped a drop on clothes, just one drop, my only solution was to isolate myself, and not to get close to anyone, or to change my clothes. Yes, it’s authentic fish sauce. Fish sauce must have bad smell to be delicious!
I am a bit old-fashioned, until now, most of the fish sauce in the supermarket, especially the types of fish sauce mixed with fish flavor … I have used those types for a while and then I will never touch those again. Why so? Because they don’t have bad smell. In my house later there are only the type of fish sauce with typical bad smell, and I always store a barrel of fish sauce my acquaintances make in traditional style.
Last time I sent to my hometown a bucket of fish sauce, everyone said this fish sauce was just like the fish sauce of the old days. My uncle’s family had to pour it into a pot to boil, let it cool, then pour it back into the bottle to use it for dipping. My cousin said, “In the past, I always ate ill-smelling fish sauce and it was ok, but now It took me a long time to eat this kind of fish sauce again”.
Yes, for a long time, people get used to some types of fish sauce without bad smell. There is no pure fish sauce without bad smell. Fish sauce must have bad smell, it’s a right thing.