Nuoc cham dipping sauce

The basic dipping sauce for fried rolls, bò bún...

Recipe type: ,
Preparation time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins

OK, this time I’ve achieved proper Vietnamese dipping sauce (“proper” being defined as “tastes like what I’m used to”. Vietnamese dipping sauces tend to vary wildly according to families, locations, etc. And I suck at reproducing what I’ve eaten, which explains why it took me so freaking long).

Measures are in volumes.

Nuoc cham dipping sauce
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep time: 
Total time: 
The basic dipping sauce for fried rolls, bò bún...
  • Basic measuring unit: juice of one lime
  • 2 units of nước mắm
  • 2 units of sugar
  • 4-6 units of water
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli garlic sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee, which is medium hot, since the point isn't to take out your taste buds)
  1. Mix everything, and leave to settle in the fridge for a while (ideally, overnight, but it still works if you leave it around ten minutes. It needs to settle, though, don't skip that part).
There's a version of this which has 1 part sugar, 1 part nuoc mam, 1 part lime juice and 2 parts water--I prefer it tastewise, but be aware that it's more fiddly to put together and slightly more unforgiving of dosage errors...
My grandma says it'll keep for two weeks; experience has proven it can keep for far longer than that (basically, this is an acid and salty milieu in a cold environment. Bacteries shrivel and die before they can get a proper foothold).
If you're NOT using 35° fish sauce (and if your bottle of nước mắm carried no inscriptions, chances are you're using the US standard of 20°), adjust by 20/35.