When I was young my step-mother, who was Filipino, did most of the cooking. She often served plain white rice with this Shrimp/Fish paste on the side instead of soy sauce.

I'm trying to find the paste. (it wasn't a paste-paste or dry)

I have no idea what it was called. It was bought in an Asian market. Came in a tiny glass bottle. Was a redish/brown colour. It had a little liquid in it, and was crunchy if you accidentally ate too much. Something you didn't want to do since it was so salty 1/2 a dime size amount was more than enough for a full bowl of rice.

Everything I've found on-line says it must be cooked in. It was never cooked in.

  • I don't understand the crunchy statement, did it actually crunch when you ate it, like there were some sort of crystals? Or was it just unpleasant if you had too much? Could it be fish sauce? Was it liquid or solid?
    – GdD
    May 2, 2019 at 18:36
  • You might want to look here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_condiments
    – GdD
    May 2, 2019 at 18:39
  • 2
    Sounds like most of the shrimp pastes that I've gotten before. (the brands I've always gotten have a bit of oil in there, which would match your description). You might want to go to an asian market and browse. You might even recognize the brand if you saw the jar.
    – Joe
    May 3, 2019 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


What you are describing sounds a lot like Belacan which is a very strong, very salty shrimp paste, that can be crunchy, as you describe, if you were to eat it by the spoonful.

Around where I am (Northern Virginia) you would find ingredients like this in one of the Korean groceries, like H-Mart or Lotte.

I snooped online looking for your small glass jars. I was able to find some that looked about right on Amazon. Only you can tell what brand your step-mother used to get (if it even exists any more), but it should be very similar to the block form that I am used to.

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