Food & Wine: Why Chefs Have Loved Garum Since Ancient Times

You won’t find much — if any — mention of garum, the fermented fish-based condiment, on the menus at the San Francisco restaurants Saison or Angler. But a few dribbles of this umami-rich elixir make diners croon, “Mmm, what is that?”. You’ll find garum in dishes ranging from dry-aged amberjack crudo with fish head adobo to aged Wagyu with blistered chicory and jus.

“Actually, it is used pretty much everywhere throughout our menu,” says Paul Chung, culinary director over both Saison Hospitality restaurants. “Garum is one of those things where it’s pure umami in the sense that it isn’t based on soy. It’s similar, except, it’s just salt and heat and the pure essence of the protein, so it’s a little bit cleaner, but with a lot of depth.”

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