Nước chấm. Vietnamese dipping sauce

Nước cham

You know that saying that goes like this.

“we eat with our eyes first”

Well this was the dish that taught me that.

I remember when I was young and I was helping my mother to make up some nuoc cham, she asked me to chop up the garlic, so I went at it like a bat out of hell. I smashed through it in lighting speed. I was so proud of myself. That was until mother had turned around and seen my handy work.  She said,

My god, your just like your father, no care in presentation. Start again and cut that garlic more fine and more consistent.  When you cook something that looks beautiful then it will always taste better.

I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about then, but another time she told me, During the war people in Vietnam were very poor and didn’t have much to eat, sometime nothing or just rice. So when ever I was to cook, I had respect the produce, make it as appealing to the eye as possible. That way it already tasted good before it was even eaten. That way one could be fully satisfied once they did eat it.

From then on, I’ve always tried to make my dishes as appealing to look at as possible.

Nước chấm

At its core

Nước chấm, is essentially only 4 ingredients ,  lime, sugar, fish sauce and water. but for this recipe we going to spice it up a bit with some garlic and chilli.   Its flavour should be well balanced and it is a staple in just about every Vietnamese house hold. I always have a jar made up in the fridge and ready to serve!


1 cup warm water

1/2 cup white caster sugar

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

1/2 cup Vietnamese fish sauce

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 bird’s eye chili, minced


In a small bowl add the sugar and pour the water over and stir until dissolved. Now add the fish sauce, lemon or lime, garlic and chilli. This sauce needs to be well balanced so you will need to test and adjust the sweet, sour and saltiness of it to suit your taste.

Simple folks, that’s Saba’s Nước chấm

Now it’s ready to serve and enjoy!!


Fried rice with Chinese lap cheong sausage. Cơm chiên lạp xưởng

Cơm chiên lạp xưởng

Fried rice with lap cheong sausage


I’m a big fan of fried rices. Its a great way to use up any left over rice and vegetables you have left in the fridge. It’s great as a meal on its own or as a side dish. You can add what ever you want in there and the choices are endless. There are no golden rules to it, but I have to admit I always add eggs to mine.  For best results you should use day old rice from the fridge, but it will still work with freshly cooked rice.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is a family favourite and is my go to meal when I’m feeling lazy. It doesn’t have much ingredients but the ones we are using will add a punch of flavour.  The hero of this dish is the Chinese sausage. In Vietnamese we call it lạp xưởngThe sausage is quite fatty and little salty and very delicious. You don’t need a tone of them to add a load of flavour to your fried rice, but I won’t blame you if you do.



fried rice (3)

2 tablespoons, oil

1, brown onion

3 cloves of garlic

4 cups, cooked white long grain rice

3 eggs, lightly whisked

4 Chinese sausages, (lạp xưởng) diagonally thinly sliced

2 Spring onions, trimmed, diagonally thinly sliced

2 teaspoons, soy sauce

Salt & Pepper to taste


fried rice (2)

Add oil to a wok and heat to a high heat. Add egg and swirl to make an omelette.  Cook until egg is just under and remove from wok

Let omelette cool enough to handle, then cut in to 1x3cm strips

Bring wok back up to heat and add garlic and onions and stir fry for 30 seconds.

Add in lạp xưởng and stir fry for 20 seconds. Add rice and soy stir fry for 2.5 minutes.

Add egg and toss well to combine

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add spring onion and give a final toss.


Serve and Enjoy !!