Vietnamese fish sauce: the hidden secret to luscious dishes


Vietnamese fish sauce is something you will get lớn taste in almost every single Vietnamese meal throughout the S-shaped country. This article will disclose everything you need to lớn know about “nuoc mam” - the magical traditional sauce of Vietnam.

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3. The 4 most popular variations of dipping fish sauce for meals4. Which Vietnamese fish sauce brand khổng lồ choose?

On your Vietnam travel, you will definitely happen khổng lồ taste Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam) at least once. This liquid condiment has a long history of development. Considered “the soul of Vietnamese cuisine”, nuoc mam has contributed significantly lớn making Vietnam’s culinary culture stay high on top.

1. How is the authentic Vietnamese fish sauce processed?

Fish sauce is a type of flavoring made out of salted fish that has undergone a year of fermentation. Sauce can also be found in some other Southeast Asian countries and the southern Chinese areas. Still, no place in this world will ever appreciate fish sauce as much as Vietnam does.

So what is Vietnamese fermented fish sauce made of?

Good “nuoc mam” is the juice in the flesh of fish that is extracted after a prolonged salting and fermentation process. It requires years khổng lồ make top-quality Vietnamese dipping fish sauce. Regarding Vietnamese fish sauce ingredients, anchovies (cá cơm) are the typical one; however, some types of fish sauce can be made from other small fishes.

These small fishes are packed into large barrels, jars, or crocks, with layers of salt. The fish are supposed lớn be fermented for 12 to 15 months, depending on specific production requirements. After a good amount of time, the newly-created sauce is extracted và undergoes an inspection on its nitrogen level. The final hàng hóa is only successful if it passes the strict requirements mix by the Ministry of Health.


What is considered lớn be good-quality “nuoc mam” is a sauce that does not have a super strong smell while possessing a shining golden color.

Other than being a dipping sauce, Vietnamese fish sauce is widely used as a must-have component in the recipes of local dishes và has long been likened to lớn the soul of Vietnamese food.

2. Why is fish sauce considered the culinary quintessence of Vietnam?

While the Chinese love khổng lồ use soy sauce và the Europeans usually use salt and pepper for their dishes, the Vietnamese prefer fish sauce. It adds a distinct aroma & flavor khổng lồ the local foods.

You can find Vietnamese fish sauce in almost all Vietnamese specialties. It might come as the dipping sauce for “bánh xèo” (sizzling cake), “gỏi cuốn” (spring rolls), and “cá chiên” (fried fish), just to lớn name a few. At the same time, this sauce is the main spice of some other famous delicacies, such as “cánh gà chiên mắm” (fried chicken wings with Vietnamese fish sauce), “kho quẹt” (Vietnamese caramelized shrimp and pork dip), “bún trộn” (Vietnamese noodles with fish sauce), “dưa món” (pickled vegetables with Vietnamese fish sauce), & “thịt kho” (braised meat).

3. The 4 most popular variations of dipping fish sauce for meals

When Vietnamese fish sauce is combined with other ingredients lượt thích sugar, lime juice, and chilies, the fishy smell fades away và its ability to địa chỉ richness & flavor to lớn food becomes apparent. An interesting fact is that not all fish sauce is created in the same way. Their preparation can vary from region lớn region throughout Vietnam.

Depending on the kind of food, you will need lớn put your own twists on the recipe or adjust the amount of sauce used. It is all about how to make it perfectly to lớn your taste.

If listing all out, the number of variations of Vietnamese dipping fish sauce might reach hundreds. Below are the 4 most popular Vietnamese fish sauces that you will likely come across in Vietnam.

3.1. Fish sauce with sliced ​​chili (Nuoc mam man ot xat)

The first to be mentioned in the danh mục of the best Vietnamese fish sauces is the one that requires the least change. This sauce is served with some slices of chili only. In this way, you can enjoy the authentic & original taste và aroma of Vietnamese fish sauce.

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3.2. Sweet & sour fish sauce (Nuoc mam chua ngot)

The next variation is the sweet & sour fish sauce, a very popular Vietnamese fish sauce that can go with any kind of food. The main ingredients are fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, minced garlic, & chili. Mixing them might sound simple, but in fact, getting the perfect balance of sweetness, sourness, and saltiness is easier said than done.

3.3. Ginger fish sauce (Nuoc mam gung)

For some dishes lượt thích veal meat, duck meat, and snails, “nuoc mam gung” (ginger fish sauce”) is the best match. It is quite similar lớn the sweet and sour fish sauce, but for this variation, ginger is a must-have. Some people love to lớn use minced ginger, while others might prefer it khổng lồ be sliced.


3.4. Tamarind fish sauce (Nuoc mam me)

This is the typical sauce of the Southern region’s people. It is often served with local dishes lượt thích deep-fried eel, grilled dried fish, etc. Tamarind juice is mixed with Vietnamese fish sauce, sugar, chili, và garlic. It is sour, sweet, & salty at the same time, creating a mouth-watering taste.

4. Which Vietnamese fish sauce brand khổng lồ choose?

Fish sauce is a national culinary symbol, và each region has its own secret to lớn make the best sauce. There are several brands of sauce in the market, and it is not easy to find a good Vietnamese fish sauce if you are not a local. Hence, we have listed out the top-rated Vietnamese fish sauce brands that you can choose from.

4.1. Khai Hoan Fish Sauce

If you are considering where lớn buy Vietnamese fish sauce, Khai Hoan Fish Sauce is a reliable place to lớn come to. It is a renowned Phu Quoc fish sauce brand that has 40 years of history. With its traditional recipe và a high-standard system of barrelhouses and manufacturing processes, Khai Hoan Fish Sauce provides top-notch products with perfect màu sắc and taste, deserving to be a leading fish sauce manufacturer in Vietnam.


4.2. Nam dở hơi Fish Sauce

This is a sản phẩm of the reputable Masan Consumer. First appearing in the market in 2007, Nam ngu Fish Sauce now ranks first in the market in terms of the number of consumers. It is estimated that around 50 million people use this fish sauce brand in their daily life. Nam ngớ ngẩn Fish Sauce can be found easily in any mart or grocery store.


4.3. Cat Hai Fish Sauce

Cat nhì Fish Sauce is a common name referring khổng lồ all kinds of fish sauce produced in cat Hai Island District, nhì Phong. The waters in hai Phong have abundant sources of natural fish, making it an ideal place to produce Vietnamese fish sauce. The locals not only use anchovies but also địa chỉ cửa hàng other fishes lớn make their fish sauce, which has a distinctive aroma and taste.

4.4. Ca mãng cầu Fish Sauce

Established in the 20th century, after more than 100 years of development, Ca mãng cầu is always one of the best variations of Vietnamese fish sauce. Ca mãng cầu Fish Sauce is 100% made from anchovies that are freshly caught from the nearby sea, combined with high iodized sea salt. The fish sauce from this land offers an extraordinarily strong aroma và taste that can satisfy even the most demanding consumers.


4.5. Phan Thiet Fish Sauce

Together with Phu Quoc, Phan Thiet is known as one of the most famous fish sauce production sites. The most noticeable difference between Phan Thiet fish sauce, Phu Quoc fish sauce, & other regions is the màu sắc of the sauce. Use of anchovies would lead khổng lồ a straw yellow color, while use of scad fish would lead to lớn a light brown color.

You can easily buy Vietnamese fish sauce as gifts when visiting some coastal provinces or cities lượt thích Da Nang, Nha Trang, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Phu Quoc, etc. You can also take a culinary tour khổng lồ the local fish sauce factory lớn see how it is made.

For each destination you are about to visit, choosing good accommodation is one of the first steps khổng lồ make. If you are looking for a reliable place khổng lồ stay, consider With a series of top-class hotels và resorts in Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, etc., will offer you the most comfortable và pleasant experience ever.


Being one of the most popular flavoring elements in the S-shape country, Vietnamese fish sauce is so important to lớn its culinary culture that almost all Vietnamese recipes hotline for it. If you are about lớn travel khổng lồ Vietnam, don"t miss out on the full flavor that “nuoc mam” brings.