fish sauce ready

What is Dipping Sauce Nước Chấm?

It’s a versatile ingredient that is used in many Vietnamese dishes. It’s commonly used as a dipping sauce for egg rolls, sushi, and pot stickers. Vietnamese Fish Sauce is also used as a meat marinade and as a tangy dressing for salads or steamed vegetables.

While you can find pre-made versions of this sauce in stores, the best Nước Chấm is made fresh at home with high-quality and fresh ingredients. In fact, no Vietnamese household is complete without a homemade jar or two in the fridge for quick and easy access.

Note: The fish sauce you see listed in the ingredients is the base fish sauce, made from fermented fish, not the table ready sauce.

photo of Classic Vietnamese Fish Sauce (Nuoc Cham) ready to use

Classic Vietnamese Fish Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

Nước Chấm, also known as Nước Mắm Chấm or Nước Mắm Đường Ớt, is an essential and versatile sauce in Vietnamese cuisine. This sauce is made from a few simple ingredients: fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, chili peppers, and water. The combination of these ingredients provides a sweet, tangy, and salty flavor that perfectly complements and completes a wide range of Vietnamese dishes.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Sauces
Cuisine Chinese, Vietnamese
Calories 25 kcal


  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Thai bird chili finely chopped (optional, for spice)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated carrot for garnish optional


  • In a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar in water over low heat.
    This will form the base for your sauce and provide sweetness.
  • Add the fish sauce and rice vinegar to the saucepan.
    Fish sauce is the key ingredient and provides umami and saltiness to the sauce. Rice vinegar adds tanginess.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and Thai bird chili, if using.
    Garlic provides a pungent flavor, while the chili adds heat to the sauce.
  • Remove the sauce from heat and allow it to cool down to room temperature.
  • Once cooled, add the lime juice for additional tanginess and freshness.
  • (Optional) Top with grated carrots for some texture and color.


You can store the fish sauce in a container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Nutritional facts (per 1 tablespoon):
  • Calories: 25
  • Fat: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Sugars: 6g
  • Sodium: 500mg
The nutritional facts can vary depending brand of fish sauce used, recipe, and serving size. This is just a rough estimate.
Keyword Fish Sauce, Sauce
Making Classic Vietnamese Fish Sauce (Nuoc Cham)


How long does it take to make Classic Vietnamese Fish Sauce at home?

The time it takes to make Classic Vietnamese Fish Sauce at home can vary depending on the recipe, but most recipes take about 10 to 15 minutes to prepare.

How do I know when my homemade fish sauce is ready?

Your fish sauce is ready when it has a clear, amber color and a strong, aromatic smell. It should taste salty with deep umami and savory notes.

Can I customize this recipe based on the ingredients I have on hand?

Yes, you can make variations or substitutions for certain ingredients, such as using different types of vinegar or citrus juice instead of lime juice

How can I adjust the final level of sweetness or saltiness in the Fish Sauce?

You can adjust its level of sweetness or saltiness by adding more or less sugar or fish sauce, depending on your taste preferences.

How can I make this Vietnamese Fish Sauce less spicy or more spicy according to my taste?

You can make it less spicy or more spicy according to your taste by adjusting the amount of chili peppers or omitting them altogether.

What are some dishes that I can use Classic Vietnamese Fish Sauce with?

This Sauce can be used with a variety of dishes, including spring rolls, grilled meats, and rice noodle bowls.

How long can I store Classic Vietnamese Fish Sauce?

Once your fish sauce is ready, strain out any solids and store it in a clean, airtight glass bottle or jar.
You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. It should last up to 6 months.

What are some interesting variations in the recipe for Classic Vietnamese Fish Sauce?

Some variations in the recipe for Classic Vietnamese Fish Sauce include using different types of vinegar or citrus juice, adding ginger or lemongrass for flavor, or using different types of chili peppers for spiciness.

What is the difference between homemade and store-bought Fish Sauce?

Good question: Homemade Fish Sauce can be customized to your taste preferences and does not contain any preservatives or additives. Store-bought one may contain additional ingredients or preservatives.

What are some tips for best results making Vietnamese Fish Sauce at home?

Tip 1 – Use only high-quality base fish sauce;
Tip 2 – Adjust the recipe to your taste preferences;
Tip 3 – Blend the ingredients until real smooth.

Please share, thank you!

Similar Posts