For any dish where the salty umami flavor of anchovies is called for, consider using shrimp paste instead, says Miss Needle.

Other hounds agree. “I’ve added [it] to French onion soup and meatloaf with surprisingly good results,” says ipsedixit. “It also adds a nice dimension to homemade BBQ sauces and chilis.”

Paulustrious likes to use shrimp paste on goat cheese sandwiches, in Indian curries, in cheese or tomato sauces, and in “any left over stew/soup where I don’t want it to taste exactly the same as yesterday.” “I’ve added it to cauliflower cheese,” Paulustrious adds. “Not a lot of it, just [for] a background flavour. For a more intense flavour modification I turn to Tom Yum sauce. I suspect that might work well with French onion soup.”

Cremon makes a shrimp-paste-based sauce for any fried seafood dish. “A restaurant that showed me how to make that sauce serves it with their fried squid and shrimp,” says Cremon. “I will spoon it over the seafood and eat that with steamed rice. But be aware—while extremely tasty, it will wreck your breath.”

And be forewarned: “Always toast or cook this paste before using it,” says Cremon. “It is NOT meant to be used raw.”

Then there’s the magic of powdered shrimp base (a different product with similar properties to the paste). Veggo uses it in deviled eggs, salads with hearts of palm, nopalitos, and roasted peppers. But use it sparingly because “a little goes a long way,” Veggo says.

Discuss: Unexpected uses for shrimp paste?

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