Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham) – Traditional Recipe

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham) is called the “awesome sauce” and every family has a unique recipe. I’ve had many versions of this quintessential dipping sauce and found that everyone likes this special fish sauce mixture a different way. There are variations to the acids used from different vinegars (distilled, rice wine, etc.) to lime or lemon juice. Different brands of fish sauce have varying intensities and some recipes combine multiple types of fish sauce for a truly potent punch. Sugar levels also vary greatly with the recipes ranging from super sweet to make-your-face-pucker tart. So I’d like to just say, there’s no wrong way to make this dipping sauce as long as you love the taste! This Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce recipe is my family’s recipe and we prefer it on the milder and sweeter side–we don’t use as much fish sauce as some of the other recipes. You can easily adjust this recipe to suit your taste buds. Make it as robust as you dare! Enjoy!

Watch the video for instructions.

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce / Nuoc Mam Cham

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce - Essential Sauce for Your Dishes | recipe from


1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lime juice or vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 finely chopped small red chilies


In a small bowl, combine together the water, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, chopped garlic and chilies until the sugar is dissolved.

Serve the Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce alongside your favorite dishes.

Store any remaining portions in an air-tight jar and refrigerate. Enjoy the Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce within the week.

Yields: 1 3/4 cups

If you enjoy this Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham) recipe, you may also like:

Vietnamese Tamarind Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Me) - Serve this mouth-watering sauce with fish, fresh spring rolls or as a dressing for salads and noodle bowls!

Tamarind Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Me)

Zesty and tangy this dipping sauce is bursting with fresh flavors! | recipe from

Ginger Fish Sauce (Nuoc Mam Gung)

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Carrot and Radish Pickles (Do Chua)

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15 Responses to Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham) – Traditional Recipe

  1. Tammy May 16, 2022 at 3:39 pm #

    Made this Fish Sauce to go with Our Vietnamese Pancakes and it was all so good!! My daughter asked me for the recipe!! Thank you for your Amazing dishes and recipes.

  2. Cathy March 5, 2022 at 1:23 pm #

    Just a small tip. Dissolve the sugar In hot water first then combine the other ingredients. This is a great recipe – just the right amount of sweet and saltiness! I substituted with 2 teaspoons of garlic chili sauce because I never have fresh red chiles at home.

  3. Thao May 7, 2021 at 7:43 am #

    Hi chi Trang, how do you make the chopped garlic remain on the surface of the sauce for a long time? Mine usually sink to the bottom very quickly.

  4. Jodi September 2, 2020 at 4:58 pm #

    Made this today with grilled lemongrass pork. It’s soooo delicious full of flavor it’s my go to fish sauce.
    Thank you for the recipe.

  5. Carol December 17, 2018 at 2:45 am #

    Just made this except only had lemons. Its delish!!

    • Trang December 17, 2018 at 9:34 am #

      Hi Carol,
      Glad you like the recipe! I’ve used lemons too. They are just as wonderful as limes. 🙂

  6. Kim Nguyen September 29, 2018 at 9:18 pm #

    Great suggestion! I literally spent a whole day to shop, prep and cook for cơm tấm, bì, trứng, thịt nướng, mỡ hành, dưa, mắm chấm. It was fun and rewarding when all dishes came out beautifully and delicious. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Trang October 4, 2018 at 5:44 pm #

      Hi Kim,
      You made the trifecta of rice plates. Yum! I am so happy to hear everything turned out well and you like the recipes. Thank you for taking the time to share your results. 🙂

    • Bill S May 1, 2021 at 6:45 pm #

      Marry Me!

  7. Nat September 19, 2018 at 8:55 pm #

    The fish sauce proportions turned out great! Usually when they’re provided at Vietnamese restaurants the sauce is too thin or too salty. The proportions for this sauce was refreshing and just the right amount of saltiness and kick. I used distilled water and pure sugar cane sugar as well as seasoning sauce instead of fish sauce. My boyfriend said this was the best dipping sauce he’s ever had.

    Thank you!

    • Trang September 20, 2018 at 4:40 pm #

      Hi Nat,
      I am really glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe. The perfect fish sauce is truly a matter of personal taste and it’s great you adapted the recipe to your liking! Thanks for trying my recipe and stopping by to share your comments. 🙂

  8. Ashley September 18, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    LOVE! Your right there’s no other possible name but awesome sauce! Thx so much

    • Trang September 19, 2014 at 7:42 am #

      Hi Ashley,
      You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  9. riley June 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe and video! I am curious what brand of fish sauce and oyster sauce you recommend using in your recipes. Thanks!

    • Trang June 28, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

      Hi Riley,

      For fish sauce, I like Red Boat Fish Sauce or the Three Crabs Brand. For oyster sauce, I like Dynasty or Lee Kum Kee. I am sure there are other great brands but these are my favorites. Hope that helps!

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