Vietnamese Dipping Fish Sauce (Nuoc Cham recipe)

Making this Vietnamese dipping sauce (Nuoc Cham recipe) is the first step in making your food perfectly. Because it’s everywhere in Vietnamese cooking, it’s described as “dipping sauce”.

This is a dip sauce I was raised with when I was a child as a child, with my mom and grandmother regularly making it for dishes that require it, or even sugar-free versions that you can dip the cooked vegetables with (rau muong or water spinach, anyone? ).

They’d have a stock of pre-mixed sauce in the refrigerator for everyday meals throughout the week. However, when a particular recipe is being prepared then they’d prepare a fresh batch to serve the dish or the next day. It certainly tastes better.

I used Three Crabs brand fish sauce. The type you choose, you’ll have to alter the amount of sauce you use based on the sodium content and flavor, which may differ from brand manufacturer. This nuoc-cham or recipe for fish sauce is about tailoring it to suit your tastes.

What is it typically eaten with

There are a variety of condiments Vietnamese people use to flavor their food items However, this is the most popular sauce that is primarily spiced by using fish sauce. It is common to find the bowl of this sauce alongside numerous Vietnamese dishes. For instance…

Main dishes:

Salsa and roll:

Other Vietnamese sauce:

There are a variety of dishes available. subtle variations of nuoc Cham and we’ll be using this recipe as a base recipe that can be used for all kinds of things. You can alter the recipe to suit your personal taste as needed, based on what you’re cooking.

For instance local Vietnamese restaurants, which sell roast pork belly will provide you with containers of this sauce that you can put in styrofoam cups which have a styrofoam cup that is SUPER sugary, or at the very least to my tastes.

It’s close to the idea of syrup. It’s a must for people to love it to make it the mainstay of a business. I am a huge fan of my sauces, however there is a point at which it could ruin the flavor of other ingredients in the recipe. This means that you need to experiment using this recipe until you settle on the right ratios for you.

Ingredient notes

Water Remember that approximately half in this dish is made up of water. Therefore, if you’re trying save ingredients, or simply not make enough that it won’t be used be used, remember that the amount of water you begin with will only be less than what you end up having in the sauce you end up with.

Citrus Begin by mixing the sugar with lemon or lime. It’s the essence of lemonade. If you find it too sweet, you can add water. If it’s not quite sour enough, you can add more citrus. The taste and acidity limes or lemons may differ between fruits therefore, make sure to use your taste and taste buds.

The exact same recipe followed every time may result in different results as lemons or limes can differ in pulp, liquid and acidity, among others.

However, don’t consider thinking about using juice that is bottled. It’s a little muddled and doesn’t have that incredible fresh citrus oil smell that doesn’t last for too long.

Sauce for Fish Slowly add the fish sauce in small increments until you’ve reached the level is required by the recipe and mixing the mixture and taste it on the route.

Once you’ve gotten familiar with the process it, you will be able to recognize the hue of the sauce that you’re getting close.

Sugar In the event that you’re trying dissolve sugar using cold water, and it’s cold, it takes much longer to completely dissolve and it is difficult to alter the ingredients in a precise manner. You can either use a small amount of warm or hot water to dissolve the sugar then refill the remainder with chilled or filtered tap water.

If you’re looking to go all out, you can make easy syrup, by heating equal amounts of alcohol and sugar in a saucepan at medium-low heat until completely dissolving. If you mix 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water and 1 cup water, you’ll have approximately 1.5 cups of syrup that is simple. The rest can be saved to mix cocktails!

Additional additions – Chop chilies, or minced garlic in the sauce if you prefer. Chilies are an absolute necessity for me as well as garlic as well. The fine chopping of garlic can be an extremely time-consuming job when done by hand.

If I’m making it in large quantities I’ll dump them into an ice-cream maker or a blender, but if I’m only making some, I’m a fan of using my garlic press as it’s an enormous time-saver, and also less messy as opposed to that food processor.

If you’re in a family where everyone is likely to be selective about the nuoc cham they eat, having the mellow base sauce to dip it in is ideal. You can alter it in your own bowls , if they require additional lime, fish sauce chilies, sugar, or garlic.

You can store it in an airtight jar the fridge while you go through it, but I like to prepare it fresh each dinner.


You may see some people make their own variations on this recipe. It’s all about creating your own version. I’ve seen a few recipes that substitute sugar with other juices.

In restaurants, this is cooked in huge quantities. The most common method is vinegar to bites, instead of lemons as it’s less costly and easier to make.

Additionally, restaurants won’t necessarily want to fuss about cutting garlic finely to make dipping sauce. This one is something you can make at home.

If you’re interested in trying this sauce, I would suggest using the recipe I have for Vietnamese barbecued pork and rice noodles bowls. Let me know what you think of the sauce by leaving a comment below Thank you for taking the time to read!

Other common fish sauce questions…

What exactly is Vietnamese Fish Sauce?

Vietnamese fish sauce, in its pure form is made up of anchovies and sea salt and water. This is the type of product you’ll discover in the bottles of fish sauce available at grocery stores.

In Vietnamese restaurants, they serve a dip sauce composed of fish sauce sugar, water citrus, as well as other options like garlic or Thai chilies (like the recipe from this article!). The sauce is offered in small bowl served on the side. If you find an empty bottle in the corner of the table, it’s probably the fish sauce that they took out from the larger bottle.

What is nuoc-cham sauce?

Nuoc Cham is an authentic Vietnamese dip sauce composed of water, fish sauce sugar, citrus, and fish sauce (again similar to the one you’ll find in this blog!). It is possible to add including garlic, or Thai chillies, based on the flavor you prefer. This dipping sauce served with dishes like the cha sio (egg rolls) spring rolls or the summer roll, banh xeo banh cuon bun Thit Nuong (grilled pork with rice noodles and vegetables) and much more.

Do you prepare your own fish sauce without a recipe?

From where do we begin?

Recently, I went to the factory that makes fish sauce situated in Phu Quoc, Vietnam where the most excellent fish sauce is made to learn how they make their own fermented sauce. The most basic ingredients list includes anchovies, water, as well as sea salt. However, the procedure and timeframe to make this sour sauce at home, for a lengthy project is a challenge. To learn more about fish sauce, read my fish sauce post.

If you’re asked this question the most likely scenario is that you’re making the fish sauce that is prepared for dipping- the one that I’ve included the recipe for. However, I do prefer making Nuoc Cham sauce at home, using the fish sauce that is available in stores.

How long will Nuoc Cham last?

While you can refrigerate nuoc cham up to one week, I’d advise using it as soon as you can or making it fresh for the refreshing zing of citrus which doesn’t last for much. The flavor will get less pronounced as it sits in the refrigerator.

Is hoisin sauce the exact same with fish sauce?

It’s not, it’s quite different. Fish sauce is made from anchovies and sea salt and water, while hoisin is a rich sauce that is made of sugar, soybean paste fermented garlic, sugar, and many more. Fish sauce is an intense pungent taste Hoisin comes with a combination of sweetness and saltiness.


A simple yet delicious recipe for Vietnamese dipping fish sauce (nuoc cham recipe). Make sure to taste as you go and adapt to your own enjoying.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine vietnamese
Servings 3
Calories 41 kcal


  • garlic press
  • measuring spoons


  • 6 tbsp of water
  •  2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  •  bird's-eye / Thai Chile cut into fine slices


  • Combine sugar and water in the bowl of a. Optional Heat 13 of the boiling water and then add the sugar to make dissolving the sugar simpler and then add the remainder part of water.
  • Mix in lemon juice or lime juice in small amounts until you are satisfied with how it taste. The best way to judge is that it will taste like lemonade or limeade.
  • Make small amounts until you're happy with the flavor. It should be slightly heavy since it is used with non-seasoned food.
  • Garnish with chilies and garlic and serve.
Keyword nuoc cham recipe, vietnamese dipping fish sauce


  1. Ngoc Thinh Pham May 17, 2022
  2. Dong PT May 18, 2022

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