Red Boat’s New Nuoc Cham

Red Boat's new nuoc cham concentrate dresses up most anything, including simple fish.
Red Boat’s new nuoc cham concentrate dresses up most anything, including simple fish.

You know that sweet, briny, and tangy Vietnamese dipping sauce you can’t get enough of for salad rolls, rice noodle bowls, grilled meats, and so many other dishes?

Making nuoc cham at home is not difficult. But it just got even more effortless with Red Boat’s new Concentrated Nuoc Cham.

Yes, Fremont’s Cuong Pham, the founder of the artisan Vietnamese fish sauce that’s beloved by the most discriminating chefs, just debuted this new product, of which I recently received a sample.

Each $4.95 box contains four shelf-stable pouches of the concentrate. All you do is add 1/4 cup water to the pouch contents, and stir. You end up with 1/2 cup of nuoc cham.

The concentrate is a blend of Red Boat fish sauce, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and crushed red pepper. One tablespoon has 45 calories and 680mg sodium.

Four shelf-stable packets in each box.
Four shelf-stable packets in each box.

I like my nuoc cham on the strong side, so I added slightly less than 1/4 cup water when I made one pouch. Definitely taste along the way before you add all the water, because you might prefer it that way, too. Because I wanted just a bit more heat, I also added one sliced Thai bird’s eye chili.

Then I used it all to spoon over grilled fish atop a bed of fresh chopped cucumber, tomatoes and radishes. It added a wonderful depth of sweet-salty-spicy umami and turned what was a very simple, healthful dish into something far more interesting.

Just add water, and it's ready to use.
Just add water, and it’s ready to use.

Find the Red Boat Concentrated Nuoc Cham at Lee’s Supermarket in San Jose, Sunset Supermarket in San Francisco, SF Supermarket in Sacramento, Pacific Supermarket in Daly City, and Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley.

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