Chef Eric and Spohie Bahn of Monsoon on

Eric and Spohie Bahn

Making Vietnamese Sauces
Chefs Eric and Sophie Bahn of Monsoon - Seattle, WA
As demonstrated at the Northwest Foodservice Show

Authentic fish sauce takes anywhere from 6 to 12 months to prepare. Production entails an exacting fermentation process accompanied by an unbearable stench. The bottled fish sauce can be purchased at Asian markets, however it is not ready-to-serve. The product forms the base for various Vietnamese sauces, depending on the kinds of seasonings and aromatics that are added. Eric and Sophie prefer Viet Huong/Three Crabs brand sauce.

Vietnamese Fish Sauce
Chefs Eric and Sophie Bahn of Monsoon - Seattle, WA

Adapted by and demonstrated at the Northwest Foodservice Show


  • 3 Tablespoons Viet Huong/Three Crabs fish sauce
  • 1 clove sliced garlic
  • 1 Thai chili pepper, chopped
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • Splash of white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons white or brown sugar

    Green Onion Sauce:
  • 1 bunch green onions (scallions)
  • ½ to ¾ cup corn oil or olive oil
  • Kosher salt


For blood orange sauce:
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Let sit a while to intensify the flavor blending.

This sauce is considered typical of Northern Vietnamese cuisine. It can be altered to reflect Southern Vietnamese tastes with the addition of green onion sauce (recipe follows). Another variation is to add thinly sliced sautéed shallots and the Vietnamese herbs Ngo gai and Ngo om. The resulting sauce is excellent served over grilled items like eggplant, squid and shrimp.

Green Onion Sauce:
Finely chop only the green part of the scallion. Heat oil in a small pan until nearly smoking. Place chopped scallions in a small deep bowl and pour the hot oil over them. Use caution as oil will pop and spatter. Add a pinch of kosher salt after the oil has cooled.

For a variation on this sauce, add an equal amount of finely chopped green onions and finely chopped fresh ginger. The resulting sauce can be used on grilled fish or chicken.


   Published: December 2005