Chilli, dipping sauce, chilli paste, how do we call them?

**This post gears towards Singaporeans since they form majority of my students.**

I have asked a couple of (Singaporean) students how they would call “chicken rice’s chilli”. Everyone told me proudly – น้ำพริก//nám phrík or พริก//phrîk. I was not surprised that they didn’t get it right, to be honest. Now, let me explain the differences between how Thai and Singaporean address our ‘chilli’.

น้ำพริก//nám phrík is a main dish and it is typically accompanied with vegetables (raw or cooked).


Credit pic: here


Credit pic: here

น้ำจิ้ม//nám jîm is in fact a dipping sauce. Now, when we say ‘sauce’ (see definition below), it can be chilli sauce, kepchup. satay sauce, etc. In other words, this น้ำจิ้ม//nám jîm is supposed to compliment main dishes. You can do without it, for example, but for me I need my กุยช่ายทอด//kui chaâi thôrd with its dipping sauce. Back to my original question, this is what we use to call “chicken rice’s chilli”, น้ำจิ้มข้าวมันไก่//nám jîm khaâo man kài.


Credit pic: here


Credit pic: here

ซอส//sórd is taken from an English word – sauce. Here you can have a few variety:-

ซอสพริก//sórd phrík = chilli sauce

ซอสมะเขือเทศ//sórd má kheǔa thêt = ketchup

total sauce

Credit pic: here

ซอสหอยนางรม//sórd hŏi naang rom = oyster sauce


Credit pic: here

ซีอิ๊วขาว//see-éw khaăo = light soy sauce

ซีอิ๊วหวาน//see-éw wăan = dark soy sauce


Credit pic: here

พริก//phrîk is chilli. Singaporeans usually call dipping sauce that contains chilli as such, hence the confusion. In Thai, if we ask for พริก//phrîk, this is what you will get:


Credit pic: here


เผ็ด//phèd means spicy. When we order a bowl of noodle, the seller asks either: do you want it spicy, or, do you want chilli. Because of this, some people might mistake เผ็ด//phèd as being chilli. The other thing is that most noodles in Thailand do not come with chilli, you have to add it yourself.

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