Nuoc Cham – Dipping Sauce

Nuoc Cham  is  Vietnamese basic dipping sauce and  salad dressing.  It’s served with Bi Cuon spring rolls, Bun Thit Nuong, Com Tam Bi Suon Cha,   Banh Xeo, Banh Khot, Goi Tom Ngo Sen. There are many kinds of Nuoc Cham, and the recipes are different in each region of Vietnam (north, central, south) and every Vietnamese family. As a dipping sauce, Nuoc Cham plays an important role in enhancing, not overpowering  the  flavor of the main food.

nuoc cham1
Tuyet- Nuoc Cham and shrimp salad

My family recipe is on the sweet side, so you’ll need to adjust the amount of sugar and fish sauce to your taste.

  •  Taste: “sweet and savory lemonade”
  • Aroma:  combination of lime, garlic, red pepper, not fishy

Nuoc Cham

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/2 cup fish sauce (Viet Huong Three Crabs brand)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2  cups warm water
  • 1/2 of a lime, juiced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce (Huy Fong Foods)
  • 1 hot chili pepper, minced (optional)

Mince garlic and mash it to a paste.  In a small bowl mix all ingredients.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Adjust fish sauce, sugar, water to your taste. Transfer the sauce into 2 jars.  Some people and kids do not want to bite into garlic and red pepper pieces.  In 2nd sauce jar, add extra chopped garlic and red peppers for garlic-pepper lovers.

Nuoc Cham should be kept in refrigerator, and it is last for about 2 months.


  • Do not use too strong fish sauce
  • Do not use too dark fish sauce – sauce color does not look good
  • Sriracha sauce is used to enhance color and aroma
  • Best to use coconut juice, 7-up or lemonade  instead of water, but you need to reduce the amount of sugar.

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