Thai Chile-Vinegar Sauce | Nam Som

This sauce is a little tart, a little sweet, and mildly hot. Serve with stir-fried noodle dishes such as Pad Thai.–Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

LC Déjà Vu Note

Those of you familiar with nuoc mam cham, the Vietnamese staple that’s both a dipping and drizzling sauce, may experience a mild case of déjà vu with this little number. It’s slightly less complex than the Vietnamese version, which also relies on odoriferous fish sauce and pungent garlic, in terms of both taste and technique, yet no less compelling. While lovely when tossed with noodles, we also rely on it as a dip and drizzle for countless–countless–other things. Use your imagination.

Thai Chile-Vinegar Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Serves 3 to 4


  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 mild chile pepper, such as Cubanelle, Hungarian wax or banana chile, sliced into rings


  • 1. Pour the vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in the sugar until it’s completely dissolved. Add the chile. (You can refrigerate the sauce in a sealed container for up to 4 or 5 days.)
  • 2. Serve the sauce with a small spoon so guests can spoon a little onto their noodles.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Brenda Carleton

Jan 23, 2012

Sometimes the simplest ideas are best. This is just 3 ingredients (rice vinegar, granulated sugar, and chile) mixed together but all 3 work together to create a recipe with lots of punch. Thai dishes are amongst my favorite, and I’m forever making and trying different sauces. This is hardly a recipe and takes less than 2 minutes to put together. But those 2 minutes are well spent! We had this on Thai beef wraps and it really elevated the otherwise very good recipe to something amazing. Well worth making.

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