Dipping sauce

Nuoc cham

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

The classic dipping sauce found on every Vietnamese table. You can change the sauce to suit: add grated ginger, shredded carrot or white radish (mooli); use all lime juice and no vinegar; go more pungently Vietnamese and beat in a teaspoon of toasted shrimp paste; and for a milder sauce, stir in 2 tbsp water or coconut water - ideal for the dipping sauce to rice-paper-wrapped rolls. Makes a fab oil-free (= fat-free) salad dressing too.


  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 yellow or red birdseye chillies, sliced
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (nuoc mam)
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar


Mix together all the ingredients and stir until the sugar has fully dissolved, then leave to stand for about 30 minutes before using.