Seafood vendor in Thailand grilling fish, shrimps

Nam Jim Talay

Thai Style Seafood Dipping Sauce

If you have a chance to stroll around seafood stalls at the night market in Thailand. You will find all kinds of seafood freshly harvest from the Gulf of Thailand. Such as clam, mussel, crab, lobster, and fish often alive in holding tank ready to be prepared by the vendor. This seafood often simply prepared by grilled on the charcoal, deep fried, or steamed to order. Then serving along with varieties of side dishes and the most important Nam Jim Talay.

The words “Nam Jim” means “dipping sauce” and the word “Talay” means “sea”. This dipping sauce will elevate your seafood to the next level. It is spicy, sour, tart, salty, and garlicky which compliment the flavor of any seafood dish. Nam Jim Talay is also amazingly delicious with Pal Pao (Thai style coal-roasted fish). Therefore, if you have a chance to try this Nam Jim you will never go back to have melted butter with your lobster anymore. Bon Appetit!!!


  • 0.5 cups good quality fish sauce
  • 0.5 cups lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 5 whole Thai chilies, bird eye chili, jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, or scotch bonnet peppers can be a substitute. finely chopped
  • 15 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 cilantro stems or cilantro roots if available, finely chopped.


This is super easy!!! You can either use a mortar and pestle or a food processor to make this dipping sauce. First of all process the Thai chilies garlic into a paste. Then add the palm and cilantro roots until fully incorporated. Next, transfer into a bowl and season with fish sauce and lime juice. That’s it DONE!!!

I highly recommend if you are sensitive to spiciness, reduce the amount of chili in half. Remember, you can always add more but you can not take it away. So, be careful when handling spicy chili peppers. The dipping sauce can be stored for up to two weeks in a tight lid container in a refrigerator. Garnish with extra chopped cilantro leaf before serving.

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