Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce)

April 3, 2014

in Cook What You Like, Fancy Pantry, Little Bites

Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce)Pictured on the bottom left above, every Vietnamese household has its own version of Nuoc Cham, a dipping sauce that’s delightfully tart and salty and spicy and sweet all at the same time.  Start with this version and tailor it to your taste buds, making it more puckery or sweet or hot.  Often used as a dipping sauce for Vietnamese spring rolls, which are also known as rice paper salad rolls, the sauce is a delicious dressing over green salads and cold noodle dishes.

Recipe: Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce)

Summary: Sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance. Cover tightly and refrigerate.


  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 3 limes or 2 lemons or a mix, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • sliced fresh chili peppers or grated carrots (optional garnish)


Soak the dried pepper flakes in citrus juice for a few minutes.  Add remaining ingredients stirring well to dissolve sugar.  Garnish with thinly sliced fresh chili peppers or finely grated carrots if desired.  Serve at room temperature.

Makes about 2/3 cup.

Note: fish sauce is pungent and its aromas linger.  Take extra care when transporting dishes made from fish sauce as you’ll be reminded of the spill for a long time.


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