How I Make Vietnamese Fish Sauce (Nuoc Mam)

Fish Sauce bowl with chilli beside bamboo flowers

If you’ve been to any traditional Vietnamese restaurant before, chances are you’ve smelt this amazing sauce dish and thought, “oh my god, get it away from me“. Chances are you also reluctantly poured it all over your dish, took a bite, and said “oh my god, get me more!“.

Nuoc Mam is a Vietnamese staple and this traditional dipping sauce brings back a lot of memories for me – especially with my mom. I remember eating together at the dinner table since I was a young girl in Vietnam until now. When I was old enough, my mom finally taught me how to make it her way. You know, “a little bit of that, a little more of this” and taste tests as you go. Over the years, I finally figured out what works for me.

Nuoc Mam with?

Obviously there is no limit to what you can dip here, but here are the common Tostitos to your salsa.

  • fried spring rolls / rice rolls,
  • vermicelli,
  • rice dishes
  • for meats and vegetables.

The ingredients are based on my own taste buds, so I like to add a little more lime and garlic. I suggest you taste test and tinker as you go.

What you need

This will make about 1 cup of sauce

  • 1/4 cup of fish sauce (has a very strong taste and smell – so beware!)
  • 1/2 cup of water (add more if you want a lighter fish taste)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar (add less if you don’t want end results to be too sweet)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 red chili peppers (seeded)
  • 1 whole lime (less lime if you want it less tangy)
fish sauce ingredients on table
Prep work


Time needed: 15 minutes.

Vietnamese Nuoc Mam Fish Sauce!

  1. Set up the Base

    Combine the fish sauce, water and sugar. Stir together until the sugar fully dissolves. Put aside.

  2. Add to your liking

    Mince the garlic & chili peppers into a cup of lime juice. Set aside for 15 minutes.

  3. Mix and stir!

    Combine both mixtures, stir and you’re done!

  4. Store for next use!

    Chill in fridge when not in use.

fish sauce incredients

Give it a shot and let me know what you think! If you like this, check out my other kitchen ideas and recipes!

One response to “How I Make Vietnamese Fish Sauce (Nuoc Mam)”

  1. A Avatar

    Wow I tried this and it tastes so authentic! Reminds me of home. Thank you.


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