Here is the list of the Five Common Vietnamese Sauces you often see in Vietnamese Cuisine.
1. Salt and pepper with lime juice (Muối tiêu chanh):
– Ingredients: Crystalline sea salt, Black or White pepper, Lime wedges, Chili.
– Taste: pungency, saltiness, tartness, and/or heat.
– Culinary use: grills, and barbecues, steamed seafood, shaking beef (thịt bò lúc lắc), and so poached food.
2. Sweet and sour fish sauce (nước mắm chua ngọt):
– Ingredients: fish sauce, lime or vinegar, sugar, garlic and chillies, with thinly-sliced carrots, papaya sometimes added.
– Taste: Sweet, salty, spicy and sour.
– Culinary use: raw or boiled vegetables; rolled dishes like spring rolls and steamed rice rolls; noodle dishes like grilled pork noodles and bún chả; broken rice; Vietnamese pancakes, and so on.
3. Tamarind Dipping Sauce (Nước mắm me):
– Ingredients: tamarind, garlic, red chilies, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce.
– Taste: this sauce is a unique combination of tart and sweet.
– Culinary use: Typically served with baked fish wrapped in rice paper and enjoyed as fresh spring rolls. Besides, this spice also popular with fried fish and works well with fried chicken and similar meats.
4. Fermented Tofu (Chao):
– Ingredients: soybeans, salt, rice wine and sesame oil or vinegar.
– Taste: strong creamy flavor, greasy, strong acrid smell.
– Culinary use: Grilled duck, chicken, boiled vegetables.
5. Mắm nêm (Vietnamese Fermented Anchovy Dipping Sauce):
– Ingredients: Mắm nêm is a sauce made of fermented fish. Unlike the more familiar nước mắm (fish sauce), mắm nêm is powerfully pungent, similar to shrimp paste.
– Taste: strong fish smell, sweet and salty.
– Culinary use: for several beef preparations like Beef in Wild Betel Leaf Recipe (Thịt Bò Nướng Lá Lốt), Vietnamese Beed Dipped in Vinegar (Bò Nhúng Giấm),… fresh spring rolls (Gỏi cuốn), rice noodle,…