How to Make Cambodian Dipping Sauce for Seafood (For Grilled Fish, Shrimp, Crab, and More)

Cambodian seafood dipping sauce

This Cambodian tamarind dipping sauce is the ideal dipping sauce for grilled fish, prawns, crab meat, and any other seafood you choose to prepare. This delicious sauce also pairs well with protein dishes of any sort, including pork, beef, and chicken.

Making this Khmer sauce recipe won’t take you longer than 10 minutes, and the ingredients are easy enough to find in supermarkets across the US. The primary ingredient in this seafood dipping sauce is tamarind. Tamarind is a fragrant pod fruit with sweet and sour pulp, and it’s this pulp that gives this dipping sauce its unique, fruity, tangy taste and jam-like texture. Fish sauce is the other main ingredient, which adds a secondary (yet crucial) savory taste to the dipping sauce. Garlic, shallots, green onions, and chillies each add their unique flavor to this sauce.

Cambodian seafood dipping sauce

Cambodian Dipping Sauce for Seafood

Thida Koeut
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Cambodian
Servings 4 people
Calories 719 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons Tamarind sour, not sweet
  • 4 tablespoons Fish sauce
  • 2 bulbs Shallots
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Chillies
  • 1 stalk Green onion
  • 1 teaspoon MSG
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar


  • Clean the garlic cloves, then slice thinly
  • Peel and cut shallots into thin slices
    Shallots getting cut
  • Slice chilli into thin pieces
    Garlic, shallots, and chillies on a cutting board
  • Chop green onions into small pieces
    Green onions being chopped
  • Place tamarind and fish sauce into a bowl, then add garlic, shallots, chilies, sugar, and MSG
    Cambodian seafood dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl
  • Mix all the ingredients together until the tamarind paste liquefies
    Cambodian seafood dipping sauce ingredients getting mixed


Calories: 719kcalCarbohydrates: 180.5gProtein: 13.8gFat: 1.7gSaturated Fat: 0.7gSodium: 5726mgPotassium: 2093mgFiber: 15gSugar: 154.8gCalcium: 304mgIron: 9mg
Keyword Cambodian dipping sauce, seafood, seafood, dipping sauce for seafood, tamarind dipping sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Is the Cambodian seafood dipping sauce spicy?

Yes, the Cambodian seafood dipping sauce in our recipe is spicy. The heat comes from chilli peppers, of which we’ve put two in this recipe. However, like all Cambodian food, this dipping sauce is easily customizable in terms of spiciness, and the level of heat really depends on your personal preference. If you’d like to crank up the heat — go ahead and add more chillies. Conversely, you can skip the chilli peppers altogether if you’d prefer this dipping sauce to be milder.

Is the Khmer seafood dipping sauce sour?

Yes, the Khmer seafood dipping sauce we’ve shared in this recipe is sour. Tartness is the principal flavor, which this dipping sauce gets from a very popular Cambodian ingredient — tamarind. Tamarind is a leguminous fruit that grows on trees throughout the world’s tropical regions, including Southeast Asia. Tamarind is widely used as a source of tartness in Cambodian food, and the seafood dipping sauce in this recipe is no exception. However, unlike lime juice and vinegar (which are also used to add acidity to dishes), tamarind is a bit sweet, and thus provides a richer flavor profile to this sauce.

How does the Cambodian seafood dipping sauce taste?

The Cambodian dipping sauce for seafood tastes sour, with a slightly sweet and savory flavor. This Khmer dipping sauce is made with tamarind, fish sauce, sugar, and chilies. The combination of these ingredients creates the balance between acidity, sweetness, and saltiness. Because of the tamarind, this delicious dipping sauce is quite fragrant, with a slight fruity aroma. And it’s the sauce’s aroma, along with the zest, pairs quite well with fish, shrimp, crab, squid, and other seafood.

How to serve the Cambodian seafood dipping sauce?

You should serve the Cambodian seafood dipping sauce in a small bowl or plate into which you can dip fish, shrimp, crab meat, or whichever seafood you’re having. This dipping sauce pairs incredibly well with seafood (grilled fish in particular), but is also a delicious way to add a burst of flavor to any protein. So, feel free to serve this sauce with chicken, pork, beef, or any other meat you’ve prepared.

What’s a good Cambodian dipping sauce for seafood?

The tamarind-based sauce we’ve shared in this recipe is a good Cambodian dipping sauce for seafood. This sauce’s sweet, tangy, and savory flavor combination makes a delicious pairing with seafood — and grilled fish in particular. However, you can also opt for the citrusy, hot, Teuk Trei Koh Kong sauce, which is another popular dip for seafood and grilled meats.

What’s the best Cambodian dipping sauce for steak?

The best Cambodian dipping sauce for steak is a simple mixture of lime juice, salt, and ground black pepper. This Khmer sauce is typically served with any beef dish, including grilled beef, lok-lak beef, and beef skewers. The dipping sauce a zesty, savory flavor that’s enriched with the aroma of black pepper (the world-renowned Kampot pepper works best, if you can get your hands on it).

What Cambodian dipping sauce to use with chicken?

Teuk Trei Koh Kong is an excellent Cambodian dipping sauce to use with chicken. This dipping sauce achieves the perfect balance of citrusy tang, saltiness, sweetness, and heat, and is a finger-licking delicious dip option for grilled and fried poultry.

Cambodian seafood dipping sauce: Parting words

We hope you’ll enjoy this simple, delicious dipping sauce next time you make seafood.

Have you made this dipping sauce already? Or, is there another dipping sauce you’d recommend for seafood?

If so, leave us a comment below!

Thida Koeut

Thida Koeut, born near Kampot, Cambodia, is the chef and author behind Thida's Kitchen. Immersed in Cambodian gastronomy from childhood, she later managed a renowned Danish-French fusion restaurant in Kampot, mastering European culinary techniques. Her hands-on farming experience deepened her connection to authentic Cambodian ingredients. Now based in New Westminster, British Columbia, Thida seamlessly blends her rich heritage with global flavors, presenting them to the world through her online publication.

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  1. 5 stars
    My husband and I tried this sauce for our grilled fish and it was delicious. He is Khmer so he felt like he was back home in Cambodia. The ratio of sweet/sour/salty/spicy is perfect. We will definitely use this recipe again. Thank you Bong Thida!

    1. Hi Emily! I’m happy that you like our sauce! It’s our favorite with grilled fish, too. Thank you for your comment :).
      – Thida

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