Nam Pla Prik
If you ask my mom to choose between fish sauce and fine, expensive perfume, I'll bet with my head chopped off, she goes with fish sauce.
Nam = water, Pla = fish, Prik = chili
If you love eating and cooking Thai food, you have got to make friend with fish sauce. It is a bit stinky for those who don't acquaint with, but, don't you agree that some stinky cheeses are dead on delicious by either themselves or with other foods, and that makes no difference with fish sauce. Some friends of mine ask how do we, Asian, enjoy this stinky sauce? I would say, "The same idea you enjoy the stinky cheeses."
Fish sauce is made from fresh fish, such as mackerel or sardine fermented with layers of salt and slowly press to get the liquid up to a year. It is an essential ingredient for most South East Asian cooking. To get good fish sauce, look for a little bit light in color not a very dark one.
Nam Pla Prik is considered as a cannot-live-without condiment to Thai food. We put it on rice, fired eggs, fried fish, fired rice, just like the Westerners put salt & pepper to their foods. It is a mixer of fish sauce, mince chilies and a wedge of lime (some might sprinkle a little bit of sugar in it).
Sunny Side Up Eggs
Once, one of my American customer walked into the restaurant I worked with, the first question he asked,"Do you serve Nam Pla Prik with your food? because I am gonna need that." Yep! he knows how to eat Thai food.