What is Oyster Sauce, Where to Buy It, Recipes to Make with It

July 31, 2021

A bottle of oyster sauce.

Sweet, salty, and earthy, oyster sauce is a thick syrup-like sauce that is made out of…. oysters! But it’s more than just sweet and salty — the oyster juices from cooking the oysters are caramelized and sugar, salt, and cornstarch (or another thickener) are added to it. There’s quite a layer to the taste. Compared to hoisin sauce, it’s less sweet and saltier.

Oyster sauce (蚝油) was invented accidentally by Lee Kum Sheung in China, in 1888 when he left a pot of oyster soup on the flame and only remembered when it had simmered down to a thick gravy. Luckily for us, he gave it a taste and decided it was delicious AF, and started selling it. That’s pretty much how Lee Kum Kee Chinese cooking sauces started!

The image up above is an oyster sauce that is made with oyster extract and in my opinion, tastes lighter but Lee Kum Kee also has a Premium Oyster Sauce that is richer and is made from fresh, mature, and well-nourished oysters (pictured down below).

Bottle of premium oyster sauce.

Where to Buy Oyster Sauce

I’ve started noticing the iconic panda label and red lid in my local grocery stores now instead of just being sold at specialty Asian markets. If you cannot find it in stores, it’s easily found online as well!

Recipes that Uses Oyster Sauce

  • Air Fryer Orange Chicken — Sweet and tangy but with a hit of heat, this Air Fryer Orange Chicken is a classic take out recipe that you can easily make at home! You won’t believe how crispy this orange chicken is without deep-frying!
  • Hibachi Shrimp with Fried Rice — This Japanese-style Hibachi Shrimp made with sautéed vegetables served over top of a simple fried rice is an easy and delicious dinner that also serves as a delicious meal prep.
  • Hibachi Chicken with Fried Rice — This Japanese-style Hibachi Chicken made with sautéed vegetables served over top of a simple fried rice is an easy and delicious dinner that also serves as a delicious meal prep.
  • Black Pepper Beef — A classic Chinese dish, this Black Pepper Beef (黑椒牛柳) is surprisingly easy to make at home! Tender, melt in your mouth beef, covered in a bowl-licking black pepper sauce, this is the perfect weeknight dinner.
A plate of rice with black pepper beef and green onions with a fork inside.
  • Yaki Udon — Made in less than 20 minutes, you can have Yaki Udon in next to no time. Packed with vegetables and made with only a handful of ingredients, you’ll love how easy it is to make.
  • 10 Minute Sesame Ramen Noodles — Dress up your ramen noodles in 10 minutes or less by making this Sesame Noodles recipe. Ditch the seasoning packet and make this flavour-packed sesame ramen noodles instead!
  • Hoisin Beef Noodles — This Hoisin Beef Noodles recipe is SO easy to make and takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish! Perfect for busy weeknights or as a meal prep.
  • Sriracha Fried Rice — This Sriracha Fried Rice is a quick and easy recipe that is the perfect quick meal or meal prep. This freezer-friendly meal is made with leftover rice, eggs, shredded chicken, and peas, you’ll love how easy it is to throw together.
  • Vietnamese inspired Beef Noodle Salad — This Vietnamese-inspired Beef Noodle Salad is super easy to throw together on a busy weeknight for dinner and works as a meal prep as well!
  • Hawaiian Breakfast Fried Rice — Made with easy to find ingredients, this Hawaiian Breakfast Fried Rice makes for a delicious morning!
  • Hong Kong Style “Bolognese” — A fusion of flavours, this Hong Kong style Chinese Bolognese is a bowl of comfort! Usually sold in 茶餐廳/Hong Kong style cafes, you’re going to want to give this twist on bolognese a try!
  • Deconstructed Spring Roll in a Jar — This easy deconstructed egg roll in a jar is a fun and delicious way to get your spring roll fix without having to fry or wrap an spring roll!
  • Healthy Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry — Craving a delicious satay stir fry from your local take out place? Skip the take out and make your own healthy chicken and vegetable stir fry with peanut sauce. It takes less than 30 minutes and you can pack the leftovers as a work lunch!

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