Nuoc cham is the key dipping sauce in Vietnamese cuisine and it accompanies salads as well as many other dishes - search our website for a range of Vietnamese recipes. The main ingredient is fish sauce.




Skill level

Average: 3.5 (119 votes)


  • 1 garlic clove 
  • 3 small red chillies
  • 140 ml first-grade fish sauce (nuoc mam nhi)  
  • 130 g sugar 
  • 2 tbsp water 
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Makes 1½ cups

Pound the garlic and chillies to a paste in a mortar. Combine the fish sauce, sugar, water and lemon juice in a bowl. Stir thoroughly until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the garlic and chilli paste; the chilli should float on the surface.