Zesty Vietnamese Nuoc Cham Sauce: The Perfect Dipping Companion

Authentic Vietnamese Nuoc Cham Sauce Recipe

Discover the magic of nuoc cham, a vibrant Vietnamese sauce that elevates any dish with its perfect balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors.

Nuoc cham is more than just a sauce; it’s a gateway to the rich culinary world of Vietnam. This versatile condiment can transform simple ingredients into extraordinary meals, whether you’re dipping spring rolls, drizzling it over grilled meats, or tossing it with vermicelli noodles.

My first encounter with nuoc cham was a revelation. As a newcomer to New York City, I was fortunate to befriend a Vietnamese local who introduced me to his favorite, mother-approved restaurant in Chinatown. That initial taste of a crispy spring roll dipped in nuoc cham marked the beginning of my culinary adventure and ignited a passion for exploring diverse flavors.

The beauty of nuoc cham lies in its simplicity. At its core, it’s a harmonious blend of water, sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce. However, our recipe takes it up a notch with the addition of minced garlic and a hint of bird’s eye chile for those who crave an extra kick. These ingredients work together to create a sauce that’s simultaneously refreshing, tangy, and umami-rich.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a kitchen novice, this nuoc cham recipe is easy to master and will quickly become a staple in your culinary repertoire. Let’s dive in and bring the flavors of Vietnam to your table!

Zesty Vietnamese Nuoc Cham Sauce Recipe


  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/3 cup Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bird’s eye chile, minced (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together hot water and sugar until the sugar completely dissolves. This creates a simple syrup base for your nuoc cham. Next, add the freshly squeezed lime juice, fish sauce, minced garlic, and bird’s eye chile (if using). Stir the mixture thoroughly to combine all the flavors. Your nuoc cham is now ready to use! For the best taste, use it immediately. If you’re not using it right away, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
29 Calories
0g Fat
7g Carbs
0g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 29
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 467mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 28mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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