Think that Vietnamese dipping sauce is all about nuoc cham, the ubiquitous lime, sugar, and fish sauce ditty that shows up at Vietnamese restaurants? Think again. The Vietnamese table has tons of dipping sauces to add zip and finish the flavors of food.
In fact, this is on of the most common dipping sauces in the Vietnamese repertoire. Every time I make this easy condiment, I am amazed at how good it is, especially when paired with such simple dishes as grilled chicken, fish, squid, shrimp, or summer squash. Shaking beef (thit bo luc lac) is served with this sauce, and so is poached chicken (ga luoc, see the Hainan chicken and rice for guidance) and crab in beer broth (cua hap bia). Depending on how you tilt its balance, the sauce may hit your palate with pungency, saltiness, tartness, and/or heat. It lifts and brightens flavors instantaneously.