How to Make (Spicy) Cambodian Dipping Sauce [Teuk Trei Koh Kong]

This Cambodian dipping sauce is a spicy, sweet, sour, and salty sauce that can be served with all kinds of Cambodian food, but it is most commonly used for dipping fried and barbecued meats. In Cambodia, you’ll hear this dipping sauce being made before you see or taste it. Right around midday, just as the country’s workers head home for the long lunch break, the unmistakable, rhythmic sound of a pestle hitting the mortar will permeate the streets. This sound tells you that it’s lunch time, and regardless of what’s on the menu, one item is guaranteed to be on the table. And that’s Teuk Trey Koh Kong, also known as Teak Trey Bawk, the famous Cambodian Dipping sauce.

Cambodian dipping sauce Teuk Trey Bawk
Famous Cambodian dipping sauce

Since coming to Canada, Thida has introduced all our friends to this dipping sauce, and it’s been a resounding triumph. We’ve even had to make several batches and send them half way across the country to our friends in Toronto. Luckily, making Teuk Trey Bawk is simple. All you need to prepare this dipping sauce is fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, MSG, and chilli peppers — all of which are widely available in the US, Canada, and elsewhere. Preparing the sauce doesn’t take long, either — following the directions in the recipe below, you’ll be done in under 10 minutes.

Cambodian Dipping Sauce

Cambodian Dipping Sauce [Teuk Trey Koh Kong]

Thida Koeut
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Cambodian
Servings 4
Calories 132 kcal



  • 1 tablespoon White sugar You can use palm sugar to get a caramel flavor
  • 1 lime Lime juice
  • tablespoons Fish sauce
  • 6 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Chilli peppers
  • ½ teaspoon MSG


  • Peel the garlic cloves and place them into the mortar.
  • Place chilli peppers into the mortar.
  • Using the pestle, crush the garlic and chilli peppers until you achieve a paste-like consistency. This step usually takes 2-3 minutes.
  • Add MSG to the mortar.
    Cambodian dipping sauce MSG
  • Add sugar to the mortar.
  • Continue to crush the ingredients with the pestle until the sugar and MSG are well-integrated with the paste.
  • Add lime juice to the mortar.
    Cambodian dipping sauce lime juice
  • Add fish sauce to the mortar.
  • Mix all the ingredients with a spoon or fork, then serve in a small bowl.
  • Keep the leftovers in the fridge in a glass or plastic container.


YouTube video


The simple beauty of this Cambodian dipping sauce is its ultimate customizability — you can tweak the proportions of the key ingredients as much as you like. The quantities we described above follow the dipping sauce recipe we usually make at home. The flavor you get by sticking to the proportions in this recipe will be similar to what you would taste throughout Southern Cambodia. That said, you can boldly deviate from these amounts. For instance, you can easily add or reduce heat by changing the quantity of chilli peppers (2 is just right for us, but may be far too hot for some). Likewise, you can bring out the sauce's savoury and zesty notes by reducing the amount of sugar by a bit. And, throwing in more garlic will result in a thicker, richer sauce that actually resembles a relish. In fact, a great way to make this dipping sauce is to taste it continuously as you add each ingredient.


Calories: 132kcalCarbohydrates: 27.5gProtein: 6.9gFat: 0.1gSodium: 7687mgPotassium: 408mgFiber: 0.6gSugar: 16.5gCalcium: 81mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Cambodian dipping sauce
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How to make Cambodian steak dipping sauce?

To make a Cambodian steak dipping sauce, you have two mainstream options. First, you can use our Teuk Trey Bawk recipe above. This dipping sauce adds the delectable blend of citrusy zest, salinity, sweetness, and heat, which pairs perfectly with grilled meats, such as steak, barbecued beef skewers,  grilled pork and rice, and even a simple omelet. Your second option is to mix the juice of a single lime with half a tablespoon of salt and a teaspoon of black pepper. This second options requires fewer ingredients than Teuk Trey Koh Kong, and gives the meats you dip a tangy, salty, peppery flavor.

What is the best Cambodian dipping sauce for spring rolls?

Teuk Trey Bawk is the best Cambodian dipping sauce for spring rolls. Spring rolls generally pair well with sweet-and-sour sauces, and Teuk Trey Koh Kong has a sweet-sour-salty taste profile. You can follow our dipping sauce recipe above, but customize it slightly by reducing the fish sauce quantity to a single tablespoon, and adding another half of a tablespoon of sugar. Tweaking the proportions of any Cambodian sauce is perfectly acceptable — in fact, most Khmer cooks taste their sauces continuously as they add ingredients to make sure they get their desired taste.

What is the Cambodian dipping sauce for chicken?

The best Cambodian dipping sauce for chicken is Teuk Trei Koh Kong. Whether you’re grilling the bird, roasting it, or simply boiling it, this sauce adds a citrusy burst of flavor that complements the chicken meat quite well. If you’re following our recipe above to make this Cambodian dipping sauce for chicken legs, breasts, or wings, we’ll urge you to stick to the amounts we listed above — this will produce a balanced flavor profile that works well with chicken meat.

What is the best Cambodian dipping sauce for crab?

Teuk Trey Bawk, also known as Teuk Trey Koh Kong, is the best Cambodian dipping sauce for crab. This is the sauce you will get with your plate of steamed blue crab at most restaurants and market stalls in Kep’s famous Crab Market. You can follow our Teuk Trey Bawk recipe to make this sauce at home in a mere 15 minutes.

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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