Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (called nước chấm in Vietnamese) is a staple in all Vietnamese families. We eat it with all of our meals, dipping vegetables, meat and seafood into this delicious sauce. It’s pretty easy to make, but you have to the ratios correct.
The ratio of fish sauce, water, lime juice, and sugar. (Vietnamese Dipping Fish Sauce also includes garlic and chilis, but they’re more of an afterthought. You have to get the liquid ingredients just right.)
Too much fish sauce, and it’s way too salty for dipping. Not enough lime juice and it’s missing a je ne sais quoi. Too much water, and it just doesn’t have much flavor. You have to get the ratio just right.
Over the years, I’ve tried various ratios to get it to my liking, but this is the ratio that I think tastes the best:
6 parts warm water
2 parts sugar
2 parts fresh lime juice
2 parts fish sauce
This is the perfect starting place for your Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nước Chấm), and you can adjust it from there, based on your tastes.
If you’re eating this with Vietnamese pancakes (banh xeo), you’ll want to add more water to water it down. But if you’re just dipping and eating with rice, this fish recipe is awesome!
Vietnamese Dipping Fish Sauce Recipe (Nước Chấm)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1-2 fresh fresh Thai chili, sliced
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- 4 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 4 tbsp white sugar
- In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic cloves and fresh Thai chilis together.
- Add the fish sauce, fresh squeezed lime juice, warm water, and sugar. Stir together until the sugar dissolves.
- Taste and adjust, if desired.