Banh xeo with nuoc mam


Learn how to make the Vietnamese Dipping Sauce called nuoc mam.

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Nuoc mam is one of the most essential recipes lớn have on hand in Vietnamese cuisine. Nuoc mam is a chile, lime, sweet và sour dipping sauce that is often used as a vinaigrette. It is used và accompanied with a multitude of Vietnamese culinary dishes that helps bring out the flavor of dishes like spring rolls (cha gio), grilled pork and rice (thit nuong), & my all-time favorite pork and mushroom crepes (banh cuon).

For westerners trying Vietnamese dishes for the first time, some Vietnamese dishes can seem bl& until they find out that dipping sauces like nuoc csi mê that are mandatory for bringing out the flavors of the dish! So if you want lớn taste & experience a Vietnamese cuisine in its full glory, you must take what seems like an optional side seasoning và add it khổng lồ the dish after it’s presented in front of you. Nuoc mam is an essential recipe that you’ll want khổng lồ have mastered (which is really easy to do) khổng lồ bring out all the flavors.

Nuoc Mam is also known under the moniker of nuoc mam, nuoc mam cmê mẩn, and nuoc mam trộn. While each of these names refer to the same dipping sauce recipe, the translation means something a little different.

Nuoc mam trộn means mixed fish sauce.Nuoc mam cmê mệt means fish sauce for dippingNuoc mam means fish sauce.

Now, you’re probably wondering: Doesn’t nuoc mam mean the fish sauce that is the bottled version without the chili and sugar? That is a long-held heated debate aước ao the Vietnamese community!


Understvà that Nuoc Mam Can Refer khổng lồ Two Different Things

Nuoc mam can refer khổng lồ the regular fish sauce which is the dark brown, fermented condiment that is used in Vietnamese cuisines. Brands that you may be familiar with are Squid Br& (Phu Quoc) and Three Crabs (Viet Huong).

Nuoc mam can also refer lớn the sweet chili, sugar garlic dipping sauce as well (the topic of this post).

As an analogy, it’s kind of like how some regions of the United States refer some sodomain authority pops as Coke, even though it might not be the brvà Coke they are referring khổng lồ.

I know this is very confusing if you are trying to lớn underst& Vietnamese cuisine, but it is an intense & mind bending debate on why the same description of a cuisine also is used for a specific ingredient.

So in short, nuoc mam can mean both bottled fish sauce or a dipping sauce that goes with various Vietnamese dishes.


Differences in Nuoc Mam Recipe Between Regions in Vietnam

Nuoc mam is prepared with a few differences among muốn regions in Vietphái nam. For example, in northern regions, the dipping sauce is made with broth. In the heart of central Vietnam, they use less water và broth, which means the sauce tends to lớn be stronger & bolder. In the southern areas, nuoc mam uses a base with coconut water.

The common ground is that nuoc mam recipes chia sẻ the main ingredients of fish sauce, sugar, water, bird’s eyes chiles, và garlic.

The Various Adaptations of Vietnamese Nuoc Mam Recipes

With all these different regional differences, you’ll also see various ways Nuoc Mam has been adapted. For example, some recipes like mine will boil the sugar water to lớn completely dissolve sầu it while other recipes just have sầu all of the ingredients diluted by just shaking it in a jar. Some of them also have sầu you add Coco Rico Soda in place of water.

Even with all of the various adaptation of this dipping sauce, one thing remains true: the recipes in general for nuoc mam really easy to make. And if you store it in an airtight container, this delicious vinaigrette will stay good in the fridge for up to four months.

One thing you want to lớn avoid is allowing the fish sauce ingredient lớn over power the entire recipe because different brands of fish sauce have sầu different potent levels. The color and grade of nuoc mam may look different due khổng lồ the nuoc mam that is actually used in the recipe. Nuoc mam comes in various colors & grades. For example, palm sugar tends to lớn make nuoc mam darker.

In most Vietnamese restaurants, they make nuoc mam in large batches. For the acidic taste, they’ll use vinegar instead of lemons because it is more cost effective sầu. You may also find that they won’t add minced garlic, but this is what makes homemade nuoc mam so great – you can add all the flavor without any shortcuts.

You’ll probably want lớn start with my recipe & perfect it khổng lồ what your family loves, depending on whether they want a milder taste or sweeter flavor.

Common Vietnamese Cuisines that Use Nuoc Mam

Nuoc mam is a slightly sweet và tangy delicious dipping sauce that accompanies a lot of Vietnamese dishes, often as a dipping sauce or as a vinaigrette.

Vietnamese egg rolls & spring rolls use it as a dipping sauce to lớn add a bolder flavor.

Grilled pork (thit nuong) over a bed of rice và fried egg uses nuoc mam as a dressing that is absolutely delicious. The same goes for a similar recipe that uses vermicelli noodles.

Banh ot, which is a pork and mushroom crepe, uses this as a vinaigrette as well. It would taste completely blvà without it.

Fried, roasted pork with the bubbly, crunchy pork skin along with the moist pork meat with this sweet & sour dipping sauce is divine và absolutely kicks the flavor of this dish up a notch.

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There are so many recipes khổng lồ use with nuoc mam, và these were only a few that I’ve listed. So if you plan on making Vietnamese recipes often (lượt thích the ones I nói qua here), having a batch of this premade will definitely save you a ton of time.

Cheông chồng out this article on different ways to use nuoc mam.

Special Trips lớn the Asian Grocer

As in all of my recipes, I hotline out anything that you may need specifically from a local Asian grocery store.

In this recipe, the only thing special that is needed is Squid Br& fish sauce. You may be able khổng lồ find this at your traditional grocery store, but in most cases, you won’t. This is my favorite brand of fish sauce because it is a little bit milder than the ones you’ll tkết thúc lớn find in traditional grocery stores.

How to lớn Make Traditional Nuoc Mam Fish Sauce

Recipe Note: This recipe calls for boiling the sugar and water first because it allows the sugar to completely dissolve for a smoother taste. In my recipe, I bởi vì not add palm sugar or use Coco Rico (coconut soda) lượt thích some others that you might find. This recipe uses ingredients that you already probably have sầu in your pantry.

Adding the ingredients in small increments and batches goes a long way. Remember, this Vietnamese dipping sauce also acts lượt thích a vinaigrette dressing in some recipes, so it should be a little bolder và stronger than most dipping sauces.

Let’s talk about some of the ingredients và how they play a role in making this a delicious and delectable accompaniment khổng lồ any Vietnamese dish that needs a bolder flavor.


The majority of the volume of this dipping sauce will be made of sugar water.

Citrus/Acidic Flavor

Typically, lime is used for adding the kick. Often, you’ll see alternative sầu options of this recipe calling for lemon, vinegar, or rice wine. I definitely prefer a freshly squeezed lime.

Fish Sauce

I prefer the Squid Brand fish sauce overall as it’s not as overpowering as some of the other brands.


Often, recipes will Điện thoại tư vấn this optional. I honestly don’t think it’s optional, as it kicks up the flavor a notch.

Birds Eye Chile or Tnhì Chile

If you want a little heat, add in a chile lớn spice things up.


Ingredients for Nuoc Mam

một nửa cup of water, for boiling1/4 cup of sugar, for boiling2 tablespoons of sugar3 cloves of garlic2 bird’s eye chiles (you can use Tnhị chiles)3 tablespoons of fish sauce3 tablespoons of lime juice, freshly squeezed1/4 cup of cold water

Directions for Making the Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

In a small sauce pot, boil 50% cup of water with 1/4 cup of sugar on low heat until it’s completely dissolved. Once dissolved, phối aside khổng lồ let cool.

Next, use a food processor lớn mince the garlic, 2 bird’s eye chiles, và 2 tablespoons of sugar until minced and well mixed.

Once the sugar water is cooled, add in the mixture and stir well.

Next, add in the fish sauce và the lime juice. Stir until well blended. Next, add in 1/4 cup of cold water. Blend well.

Sample the nuoc mam và adjust as needed. You may need to add more of one of the ingredients depending on what is missing. For added sourness, add in lime juice. For added saltiness, add in fish sauce. For added sweetness, add sugar.

To store, pour it inlớn an airtight container and put it in the refrigerator for up to 4 months.

Summary of Nuoc Mam & How to Make It

This is a quintessential vinaigrette in Vietnamese cuisine. There are a lot of variations that you’ll find that include different vinegars like white, distilled and rice whine to lớn lime juice. While there’s no wrong way lớn make this dipping sauce, you’ll just want to make sure not to lớn add too much fish sauce.

If you are looking for a recipe lớn try out with this vinaigrette dipping sauce, try my recipe for Vietnamese crispy egg rolls.

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Make sure you adapt it as you go & make it your own, adjusting it khổng lồ suit your own family’s taste buds.