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Nuoc Cham is the dipping sauce or dressing that usually accompanies Fresh Spring Rolls, Rice Vermicelli noodles and other Vietnamese dishes. Last weekend I decided to make Bun Thit Nuong (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli with Grilled Pork and Vegetables) and the sauce is a component of the dish.

This fresh tasting, slightly spicy sauce would be great with all kinds of seafood and fish. The next time I make my Grandma ‘Tona’s Accra Recipe I’m going to whip up a batch of Nuoc Cham for dipping.

In doing the research for this recipe some of the best tips came from Andrea Nguyen’s Viet World Kitchen blog:

  1. Start the recipe by combining the lime juice, sugar and water. Make it the best tasting limeade you’ve ever had. This is the base for the sauce so it’s the most important part. All the rest is just seasoning.
  2. Most restaurants use rice vinegar as a base (or half lime juice, half rice vinegar) for this sauce so be ready for it to taste fresher than you may be used to.

Thanks Andrea!

Nuoc Cham
Makes about 2 cups

Notice the pulp of the fresh lime floating on the Nuoc Cham


3/4 cups of fresh lime juice (about 6 large limes)
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1/2-3/4 cup warm water
3 tbsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2-3 red or green Thai chiles


  1. Juice the limes and mix lime juice, 1/4 cup of sugar and warm water in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Taste and add sugar as desired.
  3. Add 4 tbs fish sauce and taste. Add more as desired.
  4. Add pressed garlic and chiles.

Nuoc cham can be used right away or made a day ahead. I don’t know how long it will keep as it doesn’t last here more than a few days.

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