Fish sauce goes back to ancient Rome, a time were the sauce originated as Garum. The knowledge of origination is believed to be because of the increasing fishing industry back in the day and the easy access to fish. Garum is a term for all Roman fish sauces and not a specific kind. Back then, it was a very expensive sauce and was made mostly of fish blood, guts, heads and a lot of salt along with almost every kind of seafood. Because of the high amount of salt, the sauce could hold for much longer than it normally would, and its expiration date was sincerely extended.
Even though the import and popularity of Garum was not as big as olive oil or wine, it was still widely popular. The fish sauce became so popular in Rome that there were businesses solely for producing the popular sauce. So popular, that they used it on almost everything from meat, fish, salads and even on top of desserts. However, they sometimes had to close the factory when the stench got to strong. In general, because of the strong smell the producing of Garum was located to the outskirts of the cities.
Thousands of years later in the ruins of Pompeii, jars were found containing Garum as well as it was written on the old stone/ceramic jars. The jars were among others used to confirm the August day of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Garum was possibly the term used for all ancient fish sauces. Like modern fish sauce, Roman garum was also made from fermented fish especially the guts mixed with salt. Additionally, used for other recipes to enhance flavor. One of the newest founds was done by Israeli archeologists who, in 2019, found a 2,000-year-old, very well preserved, Roman Garum factory.
Today, fish sauce is still widely spread and very popular as a supplement for different dishes.
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