Nuoc Cham

Makes about a cup


  • Microplane
  • Glass Jar with Lid
  • Functional Taste-buds
  • A Sharp Knife 🙂


  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (cane sugar preferred)
  • ½ cup warmish water
  • 2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce (Red Boat or XO brand recommended)
  • Optional:
    • 1 garlic clove, microplaned (or minced then mashed with a fork)
    • 1 Thai chili, thinly sliced or 1 tsp crushed red pepper (not both, or your asshole will hate you.)


  1. In a jar, combine the lime juice, sugar and water, then cover and shake until the sugar is dissolved. Adjust until you can sip it without puckering your face.
  2. Add the fish sauce and any of the optional ingredients. Shake some more.
  3. Taste again and adjust the flavors to your liking, balance the sweet, sour, salty and spicy.
  4. The final sauce should be a bit stronger than you think it should be, it’s going to accompany fried foods, so it needs to cut through.


  • Prepare this at least 1 day ahead of service, it will meld better with time.
  • This is often served with Bun Nem Nuong, fried spring-rolls and fresh spring-rolls at most Vietnamese and Thai restaurants. You might be more familiar with the crushed pepper version, since it’s a bit milder for the gringos, and cheaper than Thai chilis.
  • It also works a treat on many other fried foods and cold noodle dishes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: