A pungent, dark, salty paste of shrimps or prawns which are salted, fermented in the sun and subsequently mashed and then dried in the sun. It is then sold in small blocks and is ubiquitous in the cooking of south east Asia. Local names throughout south east Asia and India have small variations in spelling, so it may be found masquerading as balacan, balachan, balachon, balachaun, balachaung, belacan, blacan, blachan, blachon, blachaun, blachaung, blakhan, and so on. On the other hand, it is also known independently as kapi, nga-pi, terasi and trasi. There are many other names for this extremely popular condiment, which lends a much more attractive flavour to dishes than would be imagined.