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Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (nuoc mam)

nuoc mam

Nuoc mam is fish sauce. Nuoc cham means dipping sauce. So this is a nuoc cham made with nuoc mam. 🙂

This recipe is a basic one that can be used for dipping fresh spring rolls, crispy egg rolls, vermicelli bowls, or salads. You can play around with it by using coconut water instead of water or adding ingredients like ginger and cilantro.

I love using this shaker bottle because it’s so convenient. I only pour out what I need over the garlic and chili peppers, and then put the bottle in the fridge! I usually keep it for a couple of weeks.

You can use a mortar and pestle for the most flavor, or you can just mince the garlic and peppers. I do both depending on how I’m feeling that day!

The combo I use is 2 parts water, 1 part sugar, 1 part fish sauce, and 1/2 part lime/vinegar. If you want it less strong, you can add more water. And if you want it stronger, add less water. You can also play around with the ratio of sugar and vinegar depending on how sweet/tart you want it, but start with this ratio and adjust to your liking.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (nuoc mam)

Difficulty:BeginnerPrep time: 10 minutesServings:4 servings


This dipping sauce is full of umami flavor. It’s the perfect balance between savory, sweet, and tart with a hint of spice. If you remember the ratio, then it’ll be easy to make this each time: equal parts fish sauce and sugar for balance.



  1. Combine warm water and sugar in a shaker bottle or bowl. Shake/mix it up, so the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add fish sauce and lime juice. Shake/mix.
  3. Grind garlic and peppers using a mortar/pestle or mince by hand.
  4. Add the amount of fish sauce mixture you plan on using right away to the garlic and peppers. Save the rest in the fridge.
Keywords:nuoc mam, fish sauce, vietnamese dipping sauce

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