I first encountered Vietnamese food when I moved here to Houston 11 years go. I really loved the Vietnamese vermicelli noodle salad dishes with their grilled meat. I realized this was something I could fairly easily make at home. We’ll mostly. I wasn’t able to get the fish sauce component of the dish right. Because it isn’t purely fish sauce its a sauce that consists of fish sauce and other ingredients.
A friend of my who is married to a Vietnamese person told me that what I really wanted was “table fish sauce”. Once or twice I had some luck finding this at a speciality grocery store, but I haven’t been able to get the right stuff in a while. Probably because I can’t read the labels in Vietnamese! So I started to look on the internet to see if I could find and order what I wanted.
It turns out there is a family of fish sauce based dipping sauce called, Nước chấm. The one that is typically used on the vermicelli salad dish I like is called Nước mắm pha. I found a recipe on Global Table Adventures. The key ingredients are the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, water, garlic, and thai bird chiles. These gets combined and then served.
I’m super happy that I now have a recipe so that I can make small amounts on demand the next time I want to make Vietnamese vermicelli noodles the real name of which is Bún thịt nướng. If you’ve never had it, it is so amazingly good. We’ll worth trying to make yourself!