How-To, Recipes

How To Make Vietnamese Vegetarian ‘Fish Sauce’ – Nước Mắm Chay

Fish sauce (nước mắm) is a MUST in many Vietnamese dishes to give that umami flavor, that essence, to the food. Spring rolls without the sweet and sour sauce dipping sauce, nước chấm, is nothing at all. But for Vietnamese vegetarians who do not eat fish, how does one make fish sauce for those dishes? In my years living in Vietnam and having Vietnamese vegetarian friends share their food with me, I found that their food still had that wonderful flavor that is quintessential Vietnamese! But how? I found out that they made a special vegetarian “fish sauce” to complete these dishes and I want to share that “secret” with you:

nuoc mam chay


  • 2 ½ litters of filtered water
  • ½ pineapple, pilled the skin, cut into small pieces.
  • ½ cup of soy sauce
  • ½ cup of sea salt
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of vegetarian seasoning

thanh phan nau nuoc mam chay2

Put all ingredients in a big pot. Bring to boil on high heat. Then reduce heat to simmer, skim the surface to remove all impurities. Continue to cook with low heat for 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, turn off the gas, let it cool down to room temperature. Then cover a big clean pot with cheese cloth to filter all the liquid. Pour all the filtered liquid into a large enough glass jar and store in the fridge to make sauces later.

nuoc mam3