11 BEST [Tried and True] Shrimp Paste Substitutes

I personally tried and evaluated a variety of shrimp paste alternatives in order to identify the finest one.

Whatever the cause for your aversion to shrimp paste and whatever meal you’re preparing.

Heres the quick answer.

Fish sauce and anchovy filets are the greatest shrimp paste alternatives. Other seafood alternatives include Korean salted shrimp, dried shrimp, and oyster sauce. Vegan options include miso paste, doenjang, Golden Mountain sauce, and mushroom powder. As a final option, use soy sauce.

The Experiment

To put eleven shrimp paste replacements to the test, I created a standard stir-fry.

Shrimp paste, produced from ground-up fermented shrimp and salt, is a common condiment in Southeast Asian cuisine. It’s full of umami deliciousness and has a fishy taste with just a trace of sweetness.

The taste is difficult to recreate, but I was hoping for something with a comparable weird, fishy flavor.

Heres what I tested and the verdicts:

Because of its availability and taste, fish sauce was the ideal choice. Anchovies and miso paste were other excellent choices.

Common uses for shrimp paste and their substitutes

Here are some frequent uses for shrimp paste, as well as the best replacements for those uses:

  • Fish sauce, oyster sauce, and Golden Mountain sauce are stir-fried together.
  • Soups, stews, and curries are all options. Anchovy filets, fish sauce, miso paste, and mushroom powder
  • Fish sauce, miso paste, and doenjang may all be used as a foundation for sauces and dips.
  • Salads and relishes Anchovy filets, fish sauce, and Korean salted shrimp

Fish sauce

If you are allergic to shellfish, fish sauce is a good replacement for shrimp paste.

It’s created from fermented fish, which gives it a strong fragrance and a salty, umami taste reminiscent of shrimp paste.

In my testing, I discovered that fish sauce is much milder than shrimp paste, therefore your meal will not be as strong. However, you may always add more fish sauce to taste.

Another distinction is the consistency. Because fish sauce is watery, your sauce may be a touch thin. However, in most circumstances, the quantity you’re utilizing means this won’t be a major issue.

Substitute: Use twice as much fish sauce as you would shrimp paste.

Anchovies (filets or paste)

Anchovies are next on our list of shrimp paste substitutes.

These salty fish will give the sense of the sea to your cuisine as well as a lot of umami. The filets may be less salty than the shrimp paste and lack the fermented odor.

To compensate, I would add an additional dash of soy sauce or maybe fish sauce to your meal in addition to the anchovies.

Anchovy filets are simple to ground into a paste, or you may purchase ready-made anchovy paste. The pre-made paste contains more salt and a more fishy flavor.

To substitute, use a 1:1 ratio of anchovy paste or ground anchovy filets in lieu of shrimp paste in your recipe.

Miso paste

If you’re searching for a vegan substitute for shrimp paste, try miso paste.

It doesn’t have the saline taste of shrimp paste, but it has a rich flavor and a delicate sweetness that will give depth and variety to your recipes.

Miso paste comes in a variety of hues that indicate how strong the taste is. If you like a more delicate flavor, use white miso.

If you want the same pungent overtones as shrimp paste, choose the darker-colored red miso. It has been fermented for a longer period of time, giving it a stronger taste.

To substitute, use a 1:1 ratio of red miso paste to shrimp paste in your recipe.

Dried shrimp

You’ve undoubtedly seen dried shrimp cartons at your local Asian grocery shop.

These crustaceans are brined but not fermented, so they’ll provide a fishy flavor to your meal without the stench of fermented shrimp paste.

You may use them whole in stir-fries to add texture. Just be sure you soak them in water first to soften them.

Alternatively, after soaking, whiz a few in your food processor to make shrimp pulp.

Psst, for fermented taste, combine this with a little bit of miso paste or fish sauce.

Replace shrimp paste in your recipe with an equivalent number of dried shrimp, mashed into a pulp or left whole, depending on the needs of the cuisine.

Korean salted shrimp

This condiment, also known as saeujeot, is produced from fermented shrimp, similar to shrimp paste. If you can get it, it’s an excellent replacement.

But that’s a huge if it’s a rare ingredient!

It has a fishy taste comparable to shrimp paste, however due to variations in the fermenting process, the flavor is softer.

Pro tip: since the shrimp in sauejeot are left whole, you may need to mash them into a paste to properly integrate them into your meal.

Replace the shrimp paste in your recipe with an equivalent quantity of mashed-up Korean salted shrimp.

Oyster sauce

Oyster sauce is another Asian sauce that may be used in place of shrimp paste.

It’s made from oyster extract, dark soy sauce, and sugar, and it has a briny-sweet taste that immediately brightens up your food.

It’s certainly sweeter than shrimp paste, so you may want to add something more sour to balance it out with the oyster sauce. A squeeze of lemon juice will suffice.

The ease with which this option may be found at local grocery stores is a major bonus. You may even have a bottle in your pantry!

Replace the shrimp paste in your recipe with an equivalent quantity of oyster sauce.


Doenjang, a fermented vegan substitute to shrimp paste, is another option.

It’s produced from fermented soy beans and tastes nothing like shrimp paste. However, it is excellent for adding umami.

Doenjang has a powerful and earthy taste character, making it an excellent replacement for heartier foods like as stews and curries.

With the current surge in popularity of Korean cuisine, you may easily purchase a tub of this paste at your local supermarket’s foreign food department.

Doenjang is more chunky than shrimp paste, but it will dissolve and combine beautifully as it cooks.

Replace the shrimp paste in your recipe with an equivalent quantity of doenjang.

Golden Mountain sauce

This famous Thai spice sauce may not be a perfect match for shrimp paste in terms of taste, but it is a readily available vegan option that works in a pinch.

It doesn’t have the same fishiness as shrimp paste, but it adds a nuanced, salty taste and a tremendous blast of umami to your meal, elevating the flavors.

Psst, can’t seem to locate it? Other liquid seasoning brands, such as Maggi or Knorr, may also be used.

Substitute 1 tbsp Golden Mountain sauce for each teaspoon of shrimp paste.

Mushroom powder

Mushroom powder is derived from the earth, therefore it lacks the marine taste of shrimp paste, yet everyone knows that mushrooms contribute umami.

This alternative, like doenjang, has a more earthy, meaty taste that made it excellent for thick stews.

Mushroom powder is available at health food shops, but you can simply make your own!

Simply whiz a handful of dried mushrooms (porcini or shiitake are the best selections) in your food processor, and you’ve got yourself some mushroom powder.

Always add the mushroom powder while the dish is cooking. It must be cooked in order for the tastes to be released.

Replace the shrimp paste in your recipe with an equivalent quantity of mushroom powder.

Bonito flakes

Bonito flakes are created from smoked and fermented skipjack tuna, although their fishiness is much milder than shrimp paste.

I noticed a number of websites recommend bonito flakes as a shrimp paste substitute, but I felt the taste to be missing.

Instead, combine the flakes with the fish sauce and ground them to produce a paste. Their taste will be enhanced by the fish sauce, and the paste texture will make them simpler to integrate into your recipes.

To substitute, use an equal quantity of bonito flakes and a dash of fish sauce in your dish, adjusting to taste.

Soy sauce

Another option I’ve heard cited often is soy sauce, but only if that’s all you have and you can’t make a shopping run!

Soy sauce is high in umami, but its taste is weaker and one-dimensional compared to shrimp paste.

It won’t provide much flavor depth, but if it’s your only alternative, it’s better than nothing.

Keep in mind that if your recipe already asks for soy sauce, you don’t want to go crazy and add too much.

Substitute 1 tablespoon soy sauce for every teaspoon shrimp paste.

Best Shrimp Paste Substitutes [Tried and Tested] 

I tested out nine different chili bean sauce substitutes to find the best one.

Print Pin Rate

Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: shrimp paste substitutes, substitutes for shrimp paste
Prep Time: 5minutes
Cook Time: 5minutes
Total Time: 20minutes
Servings: 1person
Calories: 11kcal


  • 2tspfish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon panchovy filets, ground to a paste with soy sauce to make it saltier
  • 1tspmiso paste
  • 1tspdoenjang
  • 1tspkorean salted shrimp
  • 1tspdried shrimp
  • 1tspoyster sauce
  • 1tbspgolden mountain sauce
  • 1tspmushroom powder
  • 1tspbonito flakes
  • 1tbspsoy sauce


  • Cook your meal according to the recipe.
  • At the proper cooking time, add your preferred shrimp paste replacement.
  • Continue with the recipe after carefully combining the ingredients.


Serving: 1tsp | Calories: 11kcal


What is the best substitute for shrimp paste?

If you can’t obtain shrimp paste, fish sauce, Golden Mountain sauce (a vegetarian alternative), or an excellent vegetarian stir-fry sauce may be used in its place.

What is a substitute for 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste?

Fillet of anchovies

You may use a can of anchovy fillets, and one mashed fillet equals one teaspoon of shrimp paste. If you can’t get anchovy paste, this is a fantastic substitute.

What is a vegetarian substitute for shrimp paste?

Yes, there are various vegan shrimp paste replacements that may be used in cooking. Miso paste, seaweed, tamari, plant-based fish sauce, and fermented soybean paste are all excellent umami flavoring agents.

What is fermented shrimp paste called?

Belacan, or Shrimp Paste, is a fermented crushed shrimp paste that is sun dried and distributed in South East Asia as a culinary component.

What is a substitute for shrimp paste in Thai green curry?

When purchasing or manufacturing curry paste, shrimp paste is often added as an ingredient. One technique to replace the salty and umami flavor given by shrimp paste is to use fermented soy paste or miso.

What are the different kinds of shrimp paste?

Hong Kong), belacan (Malaysia), terasi (Indonesia), kapi (Thailand), mm tôm (Vietnam), bagoong (Philippines), and most likely more we haven’t heard of!Each paste has a separate name and use, such as ham ha in Cantonese (Southern China).

What are the main ingredients in shrimp paste?

It is composed mostly of finely crushed shrimp or krill combined with salt and fermented for many weeks. They are either sold wet or sun-dried, and are either chopped into rectangular blocks or sold in bulk. It is a necessary component in many curries, sauces, and sambals.

Why use shrimp paste?

Shrimp paste carries a salty and stinky punch, so go easy on it and start with a little amount before adjusting to taste. In a hot wok with some oil, sauté a tablespoon until fragrant, and you’ve got a terrific base for fried rice or noodles. Incorporate it into the marinade for grilled or roasted chicken.

Does Korean food use shrimp paste?

saeujeot saeujeot saeuje

It has a strong taste and is used to season many Korean meals instead of salt. When creating kimchi, many Koreans put salty fermented shrimp in their kimchi paste.

What is shrimp paste in England?

Shrimp Paste from England. Shrimps, typically in combination with other seafood like as haddock and anchovy, are boiled, crushed to a paste, and potted with sweet spices and cayenne pepper, then sealed with clarified butter. Original recipe from Eliza Acton’s ‘Modern Cookery for Private Families’ (Acton 1845);

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