"Mmm, delicious, what is that taste?" Do you find yourself asking this question? Of course you do! The taste you desire is called umami. The fifth basic taste that is sometimes falsely referred to as salty is a more complex flavor also called glutamic acid or glutamate. It is stored in proteins, and most commonly consumed in cheese, soy sauce, seaweed, and fish sauce. The classic combination of parmigiano reggiano and tomato is a great example of umami.
Nuoc mam or nuoc cham (the dipping version of the same sauce) are served alongside the majority of Vietnamese dishes. Feel free to adjust the citrus juices (try lemon or yuzu), add ginger, add more or less chili, or whatever you think would add a nice flavor. From salads to fish to meat, this condiment elevates food to a wonderful level of heightened satisfaction.
Nuoc Mam- Fish Sauce
½cup Fish Sauce-*
2TBSP Rice Wine Vinegar
¼ cupPalm Sugar (or to taste)-*
1or 2 Limes Juiced
3cloves Garlic minced
2Thai Chilis thinly sliced-*
In a small pot, bring water and sugar up to a medium hot temperature, and stir until it dissolves. Let the mixture cool and add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust according to taste.