In Vietnamese, Nuoc means water, and cham means to dip, so nuoc cham literally means dipping sauce. Here we have the union of sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, and salty.
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons warm water
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon finely chopped bird’s-eye chile
Freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water.. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, add the lime juice. Add the garlic and stir. Gradually stir in the fish sauce, adding just enough to suit your taste. Add the chopped chile and then grind over some fresh pepper to taste.