8 Vietnamese sauces for your everyday’s pantry


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#1 Fish sauce – Nuoc Mam

Fish sauce is the “must have” Vietnamese sauce when cooking our food, bring flavour and some protein. Fish sauce is made from fermenting anchovies and sea salt over a period of 1-1.5 year in ceramic jars. Fish sauce makers can pass 2 times from the mixture to get the premium and the second. There are 30+ fish sauce brand in Melbourne and the brand we use Nam Ngu or Phu Quoc.


#2 Hoi sin

You might have this Vietnamese sauce at home. Hoi sin sauce is a thick, sweet Chinese barbecue sauce. This sauce is made from salted black beans, onions and garlic. Vietnamese cooking included the use of Hoi sin sauce as a table condiment and as marinade for meat, poultry and shellfish dishes.

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#3 Chilli sauce – Tuong Ot

Chilli sauce is made of fresh pimentos, ground garlic, salt, sugar and vinegar. Quite often it add colour to make them red. There are few Vietnamese sauce varieties. You might need to find out what you like. We like the once has not too much strong flavour and less sugar. Chilli sauce is used as a table condiment and for soups like pho and or dipping sauce for seafood dishes.


#4 Shrimp paste – Mam Tom

This amazing smell Vietnamese sauce from Shrimp is widely used as a dipping sauce, soup condiments or marinade in Northern Cuisine. It is fermented shrimps either processed or conserved in bottles.

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#5 Soy Sauce – Xi Dau or Nuoc Tuong

Soy sauce is condiment made from fermented paste of boiled soybeans, roasted grain, brine. After fermentation the past is pressed to produce a liquid which the the soy sauce and remove the solid product that often feed animal. Soy sauce is often used in Vietnamese sauces, cooking and condiments. It has umami taste and naturally with glutamates. Many varieties of soy with different qualities and prices. Stick to Kikkoman as a known product and often you can get from major Australian supermarkets.


#6 Sesame Oil – Dau Hao

Sesame oil is an vegetable oil pressed from sesame seeds. The oil from the nutrient rich sesame seeds and often use for traditional medicine and massage treatment for years. It is used in food as high Omega 6 fatty acids. Sesame oil does have high smoking point so it is suitable for deep fry. Sesame oil is used also in Vietnamese cooking for flavour enhancer in salad or stir fry. With left over oil from deepfry or cooking, be careful with nature antioxidants present in the oil, you will need to keep the lid tight. This is not a Vietnamese sauce but we do use them generously in sauce making.

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#7 Rice Vinegar – Dam gao

Rice vinegar is fermented product made from rice or rice wine in many Asian countries. A special Vietnamese rice vinegar is the spicy and sour giấm bỗng made from a specialty rice. The most notable place to make this specialty is Lang Van – a commune near Hanoi. This vinegar is used in soup such as Duck, Bun Rieu and Bun Oc. A similar vinegar in the South Vietnam Hoc Mon, Saigon. This is call “me” kind of similar to the North. This specialty is used in making dipping sauces.


#8 Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is sauce made by cooking oysters. The most common in modern use is dark brown sauce made from sugar, salt and water thickened with cornstarch, flavoured with oyster essence and caramel. It is commonly used in Vietnamese foods to make sauce or marinade.


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