Nuoc Cham is a Vietnamese dipping sauce that is salty, sweet and sour. It's an all-purpose condiment made with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic and chilies. Serve it on rice vermicelli noodle (bun) bowls, and fresh spring rolls (goi cuon).
What is nuoc cham?
Nuoc cham in general refers to Vietnamese dipping sauce.
It's a condiment that is usually salty, sour, salty, and sometimes spicy.
Nuoc mam in particular is the most commonly known dipping sauce, which contains fish sauce.
What is fish sauce?
Fish sauce is a condiment made with fish (usually anchovies) that have been salted and fermented for a period of time (up to 2 years).
The liquid from the fermented salted fish is pressed/extracted and becomes fish sauce.
A high quality fish sauce will not smell fishy and have a golden, amber colour.
What does nuoc cham taste like?
It has a salty, tangy, and sweet taste.
Adding minced garlic and chilies will make it taste a little spicy.
Ingredients you'll need
- fish sauce: use a high-quality fish sauce for the best flavour; I personally use Red Boat
- lime juice: freshly squeezed is best; you can substitute with white vinegar or bottled lime juice
- granulated sugar: or any sweetener you like
- hot water: to dissolve the sugar
- cool or room temperature water
- garlic: minced
- red Thai chilies: minced, optional
How to make it
In a small bowl, combine together hot water and sugar.
Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Add in fish sauce, cool/room temperature water and lime juice.
Next, add in the garlic and Thai chili.
Adjust seasoning to your taste.
How to store
Store the nuoc cham in a clean, glass container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
How to use
Use nuoc cham as a dressing for Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Noodle Bowls.
Serve it with goi cuon (fresh Vietnamese spring/salad rolls) or cha gio (fried spring rolls).
Try it with rice and grilled meats.
Other recipes you may like
Be sure to check out these recipes:
Do Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Daikon & Carrot)
Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon)
How to Make Flavourful Chili Oil
Let me know if you try out this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 2 tablespoon hot water
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon high-quality fish sauce I used Red Boat
- 2 tablespoon cool/room temperature water
- ½ lime freshly squeezed
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 red Thai chili minced
- In a small bowl, combine together hot water and sugar.
- Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Add in fish sauce, cool/room temperature water and lime juice.
- Next, add in the garlic and Thai chili.
- Adjust seasoning to your taste.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.
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