Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (2024)

I’m excited to share my personal recipe for Vietnamese fish sauce dip recipe that my even Mom approves of! Like any recipe, customize the flavors to your personal sweet and spice taste.Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (1)

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip

I may be Vietnamese, but I’m no expert in Vietnamese food, nor have I ever met a true Vietnamese food expert. Every time I get together with elder Vietnamese cooks who have traveled through different parts of Vietnam, their list of new food discoveries grows longer by the day.They are always humbled by the vast differences in not just regional food differences, but differences within each family household and tradition.

It wasn’t until towards the end of my 24 years (yup, I was a manicurist for 24 years!)of working in my Mother’s nail shop and talking food with her Vietnamese staff that I realized how much I was going to miss this crazy but collectively unique group of passionate ladies. They all grew upfrom different regions of Vietnam, hailing from the furthest Northern forests to the most Southern hot villages of the country. What made me adore our often curious and heated conversations was their passionate food traditions and beliefs. I learned so much from them as I stalked them every time they ate their lunch. But I was respectful and waited untilthey finished before I bombarded them with all my food questions.

Watch Video: Nước Mắm Chấm Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip:

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (2)

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (4)

Learning from Elders

I listened intently, like a curious kid but with an analytical mind, like a Grad Student, to their beliefs on what made the best pot of phổ noodle soup and why their sticky rice was more flavorful and moistthan the neighbor’s across the street. Some claimed to make the best braised fish in claypot because it was their Grandmother’s recipe. And to top off the challenge, Grandma gave birth and raised 9 kids in a 500 square foot shack along the rice paddy fields in central Vietnam during the war.

Ok, as soon as someone says their recipe is the best and only way to make it because “Grandmother of 9 kids and 15 grandkids” made it, I won’t ever argue. If the matriarch of your family made your seafood stock a certain way and you say it’s the best, I will nod respectfully as I slurp my way towards the bottom of the soup bowl.Family cooking traditions and recipes are topics I would never question orchallenge, because who am I to say that it’s wrong? It’s only different, but never wrong.

Family Food Traditions

There’s no right nor wrong in family traditions, food ways and recipes. I respect that because my own family food traditions are like no other household. My family experiences are what sets the foundation for my understanding of my Vietnamese food. The best part about learning my food traditions is that there are gazillions of other Vietnamese families who don’t cook and eat just-like-me, so there’s so much more discovery on the horizon waiting for me to hear, taste and document!

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (6)

Respecting Family Traditions and Recipes

Vietnamese Fish Sauce dip is one example that often provokes heated, passionate debates. Why? It’s because folks are so obsessed about eating it all their livesand there’s no singular recipe that is definitive of what this quintessential dip should be. It varies between regions, villages, neighborhoods, families and even varies between individuals within each family. Even within my family of 12,not everyone agrees on how salty, sweet, garlicky or spicy it should be.

So I’m not here to argue or listen to any banter as to why my Vietnamese fish sauce dip version is “wrong”, as I’ve previously heard in the past from silly readers about my family Vietnamese recipes. I’m here to to say this is MY version and there’s a gazillion different variations that can come out of my recipe. Make it your own, to your personal taste and we can all be friends.

To take away fish sauce (Nước Mắm) from the Vietnamese is like draining blood from a living soul, deflating a floating helium balloon or driving a nail into a tire. Slowly but surely, all life would slowly cease. Extreme as this may sound, this is how vital this golden elixir reigns in Viet cuisine (well, at least in my family’s Viet cooking). Like how olive oil is to the Italians, Red wine is to the French, and ketchup is to my french fries, fish sauce is to the Vietnamese. It’s a pure, pungent nectar sent from the fermented fish gods to grace our breaths and Viet inspired dishes.

Understanding Fish Sauce and How to Cook with It

Fish sauce in its pure straight-from-the-bottle form can be pretty aggressiveto both the nose and the palette. Basically, it can totally stink. But it can become a little softer, subdued and more manageable on the palette when mixed with some acid, sweetness and spice. It then becomes the dip what Vietnamese call, Nước chấm or simply, Nước Mắm (depending on tradition). One of the very basic staples of fish sauce is the dipping sauce that can be used as a dip for spring rolls, as a dressing for noodles and rice or as a marinade for grilled meat. It’s like magic when you take fish sauce, mix it with a little lime, garlic and chili.

Vietnamese Fish sauce dip has so many differentdegrees of sweet-ness, spicy-ness, garlicky-ness and lime-ness (sp?), each household will make claim to having “mom’s best” version. My mother believes that her garlic infused Vietnamese Fish sauce dip version reigns supreme (with much support from her nail shop staff), but I feel that my variation is more palatablejust because it requires much less post-breath mints.
You decide how much more you want to explore Vietnamese Fish sauce dip by adding more or less of whatever you like. As long as you’re making it and enjoying this Vietnamese Fish sauce dip, that makes me uber happy!

What’s the best fish sauce? We talk about it here. And here’s our previous tutorial on How To Roll Spring rolls and All Our Great Spring Rolls Recipes

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (9)
Here’sa Few of our FavoriteSpring Roll Ingredients and Tools:

It can sometimes be hard to find good spring roll ingredients and tools. Here’ssomeof the favorites:

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (10)Three Ladies Rice Paper Wrappers – Love these wrappers. Easy to work with. Consistently one of the best wrappers we’ve found.

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (11)Rice Paper Wrapper Water Bowl– The perfect bowl for dipping the rice paper at the table. These have been life changers when it comes to our spring roll parties. Easy for everyone to dip and takes up so much less table space.

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (12)OXO Julienne Tool– This little tool makes julienning the carrots and other ingredients a breeze.

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (13)Flying Lion Fish Sauce– This has been our house fish sauce for decades. Great stuff! We’ll use it to make our dipping sauces as well as marinades.

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (14)Red Boat Fish Sauce– 100% all natural first press extra virgin Vietnamese fish sauce. A solid craft fish sauce producer.

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (15)Koon Chun Hoisin Sauce – Our house favorite hoisin sauce. Great flavor. We use it to make a dipping sauce for spring rolls.

Our popular fish sauce Umami burgers recipe is an old family recipe and tradition. And better yet, it’s a reader favorite!

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (16)

More of my Vietnamese recipes and random childhood stories (Family-inspired of course!)

  • Diane’s Vietnamese Fried Chicken Recipe
  • Vietnamese Chicken Salad Recipe
  • Vietnamese pickled carrots and daikon recipe
  • Turkey Avocado spring rolls recipe with hoisin peanut dip.
  • Bacon Lettuce Tomato (BLT) Fresh Spring Rolls Recipe
  • Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls Recipe

Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (17)

Diane’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip (Nước Mắm/Chấm)

Yield: 1 cup

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Total Time: 10 minutes mins

Adjust the flavors to your liking. Everyone has their own version and this is my favorite ratio that isn’t too watered down like many restaurant versions. I like the balance of bold flavors in the fish sauce, garlic, chiles and most importantly, acid from the fresh lime juice. I don’t make mine too sweet either, but it’s still delicious if you like yours sweeter. Have fun to fine tune your favorite ratios!

5 from 12 votes



  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) fish sauce (brand I use is Flying Lion Phu Quoc )
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lime juice , or to personal taste
  • 3 large (3 large) garlic cloves (preferably mashed in a mortar and pestle but minced will work fine)
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) sugar , or to personal taste
  • 1-2 (1) fresh thai chiles , to personal taste
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed fresh ginger root (optional for another variation)


  • Combine all ingredients (fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar, chiles, and optional ginger) in a bowl and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Or in a mason jar, add all ingredients and shake the dickens out of it.

  • Serve the dip on or with whatever your heart desires. And don't forget to offer a side of breath mints after the meal. You can store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information per Serving

Calories: 5kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Sodium: 285mg, Potassium: 13mg, Vitamin C: 1.3mg, Calcium: 2mg

Course: Appetizer, Dips, Main Course

Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese

Calories: 5

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Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip Recipe EASY QUICK | White On Rice Couple (2024)


What is Vietnamese dipping sauce made of? ›

Gather Your Ingredients

Granulated sugar — provides sweetness and a slightly syrupy texture once dissolved. Water — combined with the sugar to create the base. Fresh garlic — my mom says 'always more garlic', but start with two cloves. Vietnamese fish sauce — this bottled sauce is made from fermenting fish and salt.

What is Vietnamese fish sauce? ›

Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years. It is used as a staple seasoning in East Asian cuisine and Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Can you eat fish sauce with rice? ›

fish sauce is a very concentrated source of umami and salty flavor and can really elevate a simple stir-fry noodle or rice dish.

What is the sauce the most popular for Vietnamese people? ›

Nước Chấm is a quintessential sauce in Vietnamese cuisine. Made from simple ingredients like fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar, this sauce adds a delicious umami flavor to a wide range of dishes. It's a staple item in Vietnamese households and provides an essential finishing touch to many Vietnamese dishes.

What sauce is frequently used in Vietnam as a condiment? ›

Fish sauce is probably the most popular sauce that can be found on a Vietnamese dining table. It nearly matches everything from dishes like fried spring rolls, rice rolls, bun cha to grilled seafood. The taste of nước mắm is rich, sweet, tart with a hint of mild spiciness.

Is there a difference between Thai fish sauce and Vietnamese fish sauce? ›

Vietnamese fish sauce often has a milder taste than Thai fish sauce – also known as nam pla. Quality fish sauce will have light and clear amber yellow, with a gentle aroma. Like olive oil, fish sauce is evaluated based on the quality and price of each type.

What is a substitute for Vietnamese fish sauce? ›

Soy sauce + rice vinegar

For an even closer substitution, replace the fish sauce with 1/2 soy sauce and 1/2 rice vinegar (or other vinegar). This will give you the salty sour freshness.

Can you put fish sauce in fried rice? ›

Drizzle in soy sauce, fish sauce, mirin and sesame oil, tossing to combine everything evenly. Keep stirring the fried rice until slightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the cooked vegetables back to the pan and toss to combine. Add salt, black pepper, red chili flakes or even Sriracha to taste.

Do you need to refrigerate fish sauce? ›

Shopping for and Storing Fish Sauce

Store it in a cool dark place, like the pantry, and away from any hot areas in your kitchen, like directly above the stove. You should avoid storing fish sauce in the fridge because cold temperatures will cause the salt to crystallize over time.

Why is fish and rice good for you? ›

Compared to meat and poultry, seafood is significantly lower in fat and calories; this includes oily fish with a relatively high fat content. Seafood is also rich in iodine, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, potassium, and B vitamins, especially niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, and B12.

What is Vietnamese people's favorite food? ›

Pho might be Vietnam's most famous dish but bun cha is the top choice when it comes to lunchtime in the capital. Just look for the clouds of meaty smoke after 11 a.m. when street-side restaurants start grilling up small patties of seasoned pork and slices of marinated pork belly over a charcoal fire.

What vinegar is used in Vietnam? ›

Rice vinegar is a vinegar made from rice wine in East Asia (China, Japan and Korea), as well as in Vietnam in Southeast Asia. It is used as a seasoning, dressing, and dipping in many dishes, including sushi, jiaozi, and banchans.

What are the two sauces that come with phở? ›

Onions (optional): Either sliced green onions or super-thinly-sliced white onions as a garnish. Sauces (optional): It's also traditional to serve pho with hoisin sauce and/or sriracha to use as a garnish if desired.

What is the brown sauce at Vietnamese restaurants? ›

In Vietnamese, hoisin sauce is called tương đen. It is a popular condiment for phở, a Vietnamese noodle soup, in southern Vietnam.

What is dip sauce made of? ›

Dips are typically made by combining a fat, such as sour cream or mayonnaise, with an acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice. Flavorings, such as herbs, spices, or vegetables, are then added to the mixture. The dips can be either smooth or chunky in texture and can be served either cold or hot.


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