I've made this recipe without using the fish paste and it tastes great without it.... actually to the point that I wouldn't even bother adding it. But yes, you could use fish sauce (which is what you'd add to a Vietnamese Bún chả dish).
what can i use for a husband that's deathly allergic to all fish? :(
Fish sauce would be a good substitute.
What can I use as a substitute to the anchovy paste?