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Nuoc cham Vietnamese dressing

This classic combination of salty-sweet-sour-funk is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. It’s especially lovely in the summer months, served as a dipping sauce with Vietnamese dishes such as rice paper rolls, spring rolls or skewers, or used as a salad dressing for crunchy shredded veg like carrot, cucumber, daikon and the like. Bulk out the salad with some vermicelli rice noodles, and use some of last night’s protein (be it roast chook, sliced steak or grilled tofu) to really make it a meal. My favourite fish sauce is either Mega Chef or Red Boat - it’s got a lovely balanced funk, though if it’s the only thing you’re missing and can’t get to the shops, add salt flakes to taste instead.


  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove finely grated
  • 1 long green or red chilli finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 scant tablespoon caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water


  • Combine all ingredients in a clean 185ml jar or airtight container. Taste and correct for seasoning if need be. Store in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.

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