Southern Thai Fish Sauce – Nam Bu Du (น้ำบูดู)

Budu (น้ำบูดู) is the famous southern-style fish sauce which I’ve alluded to in my post on Thai Southern-style grilled chicken. My mother, who wasn’t a Southerner, had at least a dozen bottles of this sauce in the cupboard at any given time. It was the premium budu from the city of Sai Buri in the southern province of Pattani where the best budu sauce is made.

I don’t think I can present a good case to you skeptics out there why a sauce made from little fishies that have been fermented for nearly a year produces such delicious sauces and relishes, so I’m just going to ask you to look me in the eye and promise me that you will give it a try even though your heart and your mind say, “Uh, heck, no.”

As far as I know, Pantainorasingh is the only brand that has exported their budu to North America. You should be able to find it at any large, well-stocked Southeast Asian supermarket. Online vendors specializing in Southeast Asian, especially Thai, ingredients certainly carry it. You may have to search for “bu-do” sauce in order to be led to the right product. This spelling is driving me nuts as it has no linguistic support whatsoever. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out the reason for the spelling, “Bu-do.”

The only thing I can think of is that someone at some point decided that since you English speakers already have the word “do” that is pronounced “du/doo” in your vocabulary, this spelling would be somewhat like a pronunciation aid for you as in, ‘Hey, we could have gone with ‘budu’ which is how it’s spelled in the original Malay, but we thought ‘bu-do’ would have made a foreign language one syllable easier for you. You’re welcome!’

I personally find this to be a tad condescending, but that’s just me.