Nước Mắm Gừng is a popular dipping sauce in Vietnam. Made from fish sauce, ginger, and lime, it’s numbing, hot, spicy, sweet, and tangy. It’s a must-have for many Vietnamese seafood and poultry dishes.

A small bowl filled with zesty ginger fish sauce, a popular Vietnamese condiment

🙋‍♀️ What’s Nươc Mắm Gừng?

Ginger (Gừng) is a popular herb in Vietnamese cuisine, known not only as a cooking spice but also as a folk medicine.

Gừng (Ginger)

Vietnamese culinary philosophy revolves around achieving balance, which is why ingredients with hot or warm “Yang” element are often paired with those having cool or cold “Yin” element.

Given its “yang” nature, ginger is typically paired with foods presenting “yin” nature, such as chicken, duck, and seafood, to create well-balanced dishes.

Nước Mắm Gừng, which translates to “Ginger fish sauce” in English, is a well-known Nước Chấm (Dipping sauce) in Vietnam.

Note: In Vietnam, Nước Chấm literally refers to any kinds of dipping sauce. It’s not necessarily the popular dipping fish sauce (Nước Mắm Chấm) that many people are familiar with.

A small white bowl filled with Vietnamese dipping fish sauce, with minced garlic and chili
The popular dipping fish sauce (Nước Mắm Chấm)

Therefore, if you ask for Nước Chấm in a big restaurant in Vietnam, the staff may not know exactly what you want, as there maybe many kinds of Nước Chấm like Hoisin Peanut Sauce or Mắm Tôm (fermented shrimp dipping sauce) in the kitchen.

"Hoisin Peanut Sauce" - A dipping bowl filled with creamy and flavorful Vietnamese Peanut Sauce with some Vietnamese chili oil on top
Hoisin Peanut Sauce
a bowl of Mam Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Paste)
Mắm Tôm (Fermented Shrimp Paste Sauce)

🛒 Ingredients for Vietnamese Ginger Fish Sauce

nuoc mam gung ingredients

Ginger, chili, and fish sauce are the must-have ingredients for Nước Mắm Gừng. You also need some sugar and lime juice/vinegar to balance the flavor.

The sautéed scallions are optional. They give some nice aroma to the sauce and reduce the strong scent of ginger.

📝 Instructions

In Vietnam, there are two popular ways for preparing Nước Mắm Gừng:

  • Pestle and Mortar (home style): Grind peeled ginger, chili, and sugar together. Then, add fish sauce, sautéed scallions (optional), and a bit of water, lime juice. Mix well and serve.
  • Food processor (restaurant style) or cutting board & knife: Mince the peeled ginger and chili, then mix with sugar. Next, add fish sauce, sautéed scallions (optional), water and lime juice. Mix well.
minced ginger and chili

🌟 Helpful Tips

A small bowl filled with zesty ginger fish sauce, a popular Vietnamese condiment
  • Adjust the fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice/vinegar to suit your taste.
  • Choose young ginger if you are not into the strong scent of ginger, and go for mature ginger if you prefer your fish sauce to have a robust ginger aroma.

🌟 What to do with leftover fish sauce

Fish sauce is a great ingredient for marinating, seasoning and making dipping sauces in Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cuisines. It’s a versatile ingredient. On my blog, there are many recipes to help you make the most of your bottle of fish sauce.

For dipping sauce:

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A small bowl filled with zesty ginger fish sauce, a popular Vietnamese condiment

Nước Mắm Gừng (Vietnamese Lime Ginger Fish Sauce)

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Nước Mắm Gừng is a popular dipping sauce in Vietnam. Made from fish sauce, ginger, and lime juice, it's numbing, hot, spicy, sweet, and tangy. This dipping sauce is a must for many Vietnamese seafood and poultry dishes.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 9 minutes
Course Condiments
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (to your taste)
  • tbsp sugar (to your taste)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp lime juice (or vinegar)
  • 2 slices ginger (15g)
  • 1 Thai Bird's eye chili
  • Sautéed scallion stem (optional)

Instructions
 

With pestle and mortar (home style):

  • Grind ginger, chili, and sugar together.
  • Add fish sauce, sautéed scallions (optional), and a bit of water, lime juice. Mix well and serve.

With food processor (restaurant style) or cutting board & knife:

  • Mince the ginger and chili, then mix with sugar.
  • Add fish sauce, sautéed scallions (optional), adjust with some water and lime juice. Mix well and serve.

Notes

  • Choose for young ginger if you prefer a milder scent, and select mature ginger for a stronger ginger aroma in your fish sauce.
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