Fish Sauce Dip (Nước Mắm Chấm)

IMG_5736This dipping sauce is one of the most well known things about Vietnamese cuisine. 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 to for it to be more on the sour side. When i travelled to central Vietnam, I noticed that their dips were more on the sweet side, as with most of their dishes. 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, boiled and cooled to warm
  • 3 tbsp + ½ tsp raw sugar
  • 62.5mL fish sauce (three crab brand)
  • 60mL lime juice/lemon 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/lemon.
  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.