Mam Ruoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce with Shrimp Paste)

Stir shrimp paste – available in Southeast Asian groceries – into Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce), and you've got Mam Ruoc Cham. The shrimp past gives it a serious umami funk – which people either love or hate. I happen to love it, especially with Cha Ca La Vong, Hanoi-style catfish with turmeric and dill.


3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (juice of 1 juicy lime)

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon shrimp paste

1 to 2 Thai chiles, sliced


In a small bowl, combine the garlic cloves, fish sauce, lime juice, 3 tablespoons water, sugar, shrimp paste and chiles. Taste and add more lime juice, sugar or chiles as necessary.