Fish Sauce Dip (Nước Mắm Chấm)

This dipping sauce is one of the most well known sauces in Vietnamese cuisine. This sauce is used in a number of dishes such as Vermicelli salads (i.e., bún cha gio, bún thịt nướng), Vietnamese pancake (bánh xèo), Steamed Rice Rolls (bánh cuốn), Broken Rice with Grilled Pork (cơm tấm) etc.

Every household has their own recipe which varies slightly in terms of sweetness, saltiness and sourness. Some people prefer theirs to be more on the sweet side and some prefer for it to be more on the sour side.

Of course, like any recipe, you can just adjust each ingredient according to your own taste!

I also note which brand of fish sauce I use, as all brands will vary with levels of saltiness and sometimes sweetness too depending on whether there is MSG or not.


  • 250mL of water, warm
  • 3 tbsp + ½ tsp raw sugar
  • 62.5mL fish sauce (Việt Hương)
  • 60mL lime juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • fresh chilli, minced to taste


  1. Boil some water in a kettle, let it cool to warm (enough to dissolve sugar)
  2. Add remaining ingredients
  3. Taste and re-season as needed
  4. If you want it more salty, add fish sauce, if more sweet, add sugar, if more sour then add lime
  5. Remember to add extra ingredients in little increments, about ¼ of a tsp at a time. Re-taste after each seasoning to see what it needs
  6. Don’t forget to use a new tsp every time to avoid contamination
  7. Store in the fridge for 3 days


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