Korean fish sauce being poured into a bowl.

Korean Fish Sauce (Aekjeot)

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Interested in Korean cooking? Here, we continue our learning journey about Korean ingredients. For this article, we are discussing Korean fish sauce. Here, we learn about fish sauce in Korean cuisine as well as answer some questions you may have about this product. Let’s get started!

What Is Korean Fish Sauce?

The term ‘Korean fish sauce’ refers to a variety of different fish-based condiments made by salting, fermenting, and straining different fish such as anchovy or sand lance. In Korean, the word for fish sauce is ‘aekjeot’ (액젓), which literally means ‘liquid jeotgal’ (젓갈).

Jeotgal (젓갈) is the Korean term for salted and preserved seafood. The preserved seafood, such as shrimp, oysters, clams, fish, and roe, are used to make famous dishes such as kimchi. Based on the ingredients used, types of jeotgal can range from chunky large pieces, tiny pieces, or pure liquid (aekjeot). If you look up jeotgal, you will find that there are over 50 varieties.   

Types of Korean Fish Sauce:

Below, we list some of the most common types of Korean fish sauce. People in South Korea pick the type of fish sauce based on their family recipes! 

  • Myeolchi Aekjeot (멸치액젓): Anchovy Sauce
  • Kkanari Aekjeot (까나리 액젓): Sand Lance Sauce
  • Chamchi Aekjeot (참치액젓): Tuna Sauce

Examples of Aekjeot in Korean Cooking:

As I stated above, people in South Korea refer to fish sauce as ‘aekjeot’(액젓). Below, we list two examples of dishes that use this ingredient. We have recipes for these dishes on our blog! 

An overhead shot of light brown Korean fish sauce in a white bowl.
Do You Cook With Fish Sauce?

Korean Fish Sauce Frequently Asked Questions:

Now that we learned about Korean fish sauce (aekjeot), we want to answer some questions you may have about this ingredient! If we do not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or email us at carvingajourney@gmail.com

What Does Fish Sauce Taste Like?

Aekjeot of course tastes fishy! It has a high salt content from the preserving process. This strong salty and fishy flavor packs a punch of umami. 

Is Fish Sauce Gluten-Free?

As always, it depends. Fish sauce may contain gluten depending on the brand and the production facility. 

Where does potential gluten come from in fish sauce? Well, some companies use a microbial starter that is gluten-based. This begins the fermentation process.

As a result, when buying fish sauce, you should check the label to make sure it does not contain any hidden gluten ingredients. Never assume it is gluten-free! 

How Should I Store Aekjeot?

You should store fish sauce in a cool, dark place (such as the pantry) before opening the container. Once opened, follow the instructions on the bottle for proper storage. Some brands require you to place fish sauce in the refrigerator, others do not.

Where Can I Buy Aekjeot?

These days, you can easily buy Korean-made fish sauce online. 

If you rather not order items online, you can shop for Korean fish sauce at your local Korean grocery store or large Asian chain grocery such as H-mart

Is There a Vegan Fish Sauce Substitute?

These days, you can buy vegan fish sauce! While it does not taste exactly the same, it can help you make soups, stews, and more that call for this ingredient.

You can buy vegan fish sauce online or in the health/vegan section of well-stocked grocery stores.  

We Hope You Enjoyed Learning About Korean Fish Sauce (Aekjeot)!

In the end, we hope you enjoyed learning about Korean fish sauce (aekjeot)! If so, let us know in the comment section! 

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on our blog. We listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey Korean recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage.

Korean Ingredient Articles: 

Further Carving A Journey Korean Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at carvingajourney@gmail.com.

And, finally, we would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow us at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to our blog by joining our mailing list. Let us know if you make anything with aekjeot! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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