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Can I Substitute Oyster Sauce For Fish Sauce?

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If you’re familiar with oyster sauce, you already know. It is said that this sauce was invented in China in the year 1888 by Lee Kum Sheung, who was the proprietor of a food stall at the time. By accident, Lee Kum Sheung left the oyster soup boiling for too long, which transformed the soup into a thick and flavorful sauce. After giving it a try, he immediately understood that he had stumbled across an incredible find. Because of this, we now have one of our go-to sauces in our arsenal.

You may simply replace oyster sauce with other sauces such as sweet soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, or hoisin sauce if you are not a huge fan of oyster sauce. These are the most prevalent explanations for why you should steer clear of these sauces, although there are more. These sauces are often used to provide more flavor to foods, and subsequently they may be used in other recipes as a suitable replacement for oyster sauce. But are they effective? Continue reading to find out if any of these sauces may successfully replace oyster sauce in your cooking.

What is Oyster Sauce?

Oyster sauce has a taste that is not overpowering and is really tasty. Oysters are used to make a condiment that is often referred to as “sea milk.” It is often employed in the preparation of a wide variety of Chinese meals and has a lot of renown in Thailand. Because of the combination of salty and sweet flavors it has, it may be used not only as a condiment but also to impart savory taste to dishes. Fish, chicken prepared in a Chinese style, and stir-fries may all benefit from using it.

Top Substitutes of Oyster Sauce

1. Fish Sauce

Fish sauce, which is another dish that is high in umami and that we prefer to have on hand, is perhaps the most obvious alternative to oyster sauce. If you are not acquainted with any of these sauces, you may not be sure which one is which. In comparison to conventional sauce, oyster sauce is more viscous; it has a deep brown hue; in addition, it has a sense of sweetness. On the other hand, fish sauce is more watery, has a paler hue, and does not include any sweetness. Some people have the opinion that it has a nutty quality.

According to Taste Essence, oyster sauce is formed from oysters, but it also includes salt and sugar; on the other hand, fish sauce is made completely of fermented fish and salt. Both sauces may be used in cooking. As a consequence of this, it should not come as a shock that there are major differences between the two. If you are utilizing a meal that has a lot of various components, switching out the oyster sauce for fish sauce may not be as evident to the taste buds. The rough edges of the fish sauce could be mellowed down by the addition of a little bit of sugar to the meal.

What should we take away from this experience? In addition to stockpiling oyster sauce, you should also stock up on fish sauce at the same time. Both of these sauces are excellent complements to oyster sauce.

2. Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is sweeter and has a lower concentration than fish sauce, which tends to be more powerful and intense in dishes than oyster sauce (via Kitchen Bar). However, it is a great alternative to oyster sauce and works quite well in its place. This is due, in part, to the consistency of the teriyaki sauce, which, like oyster sauce, has a thick consistency. Because of this, teriyaki sauce may be used in place of oyster sauce in some recipes, although fish sauce cannot.

The foundation of teriyaki sauce is soy sauce, but it is often sweetened with sugar, and it typically also adds sake or mirin. If you make recipes using teriyaki, you probably already have some on hand; this is also a wonderful item to have on hand for times when you want to take your culinary skills to the next level.

If you don’t have any oyster sauce but just teriyaki sauce, Gourmet Sleuth suggests replacing 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce with 2 teaspoons of teriyaki sauce. This is because 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce is equivalent to 2 teaspoons of teriyaki sauce. If you have oysters in a jar or can on hand, you may add a teaspoon of the liquid from them to the mixture.

3. Soy Sauce

If you’re short of oyster sauce and looking for a salty and savory alternative, soy sauce could seem like one of the easiest solutions to choose from at first glance. That’s because it’s probable that you already have some soy sauce in your pantry. Even if you don’t have a bottle of soy sauce, you undoubtedly still have some leftover soy sauce packets from the last time you had Chinese takeout (though you should certainly acquire one). You’re in luck since, depending on the situation, oyster sauce may sometimes be replaced with soy sauce.

According to PureWow, there are a few key differences between these two separate types of sauce. Oyster sauce, which has a far higher viscosity than soy sauce and hence drips more slowly from the bottle. Since soy sauce has a different consistency than oyster sauce and does not have the same level of sweetness, it is possible that it will not be an adequate replacement for oyster sauce in a given recipe. However, if you add a little bit of sugar to your dish, this problem will disappear. In a time of crisis, the fact that you probably already have this alternative on hand despite the fact that it may not have the most genuine taste makes it an apparent decision to make.

4. Hoisin Sauce

If you already have this sauce stashed away in the back of your pantry, you probably already had this idea. If you like barbecue sauce, you should definitely give hoisin sauce a try. It’s another sauce that comes from China. It has a taste profile somewhat dissimilar to that of oyster sauce. You’ll get a good deal of the umami taste you want, but in addition to that, there’s a possibility that you’ll perceive some acidic qualities. It has a touch of sweetness, although the sweetness isn’t too strong. It is important to keep in mind that not all hoisin sauces are the same. There are several recipes that call for garlic, chili paste, or even vinegar as an ingredient. Read the list of ingredients that is printed on the bottle first before trying to use it in place of any other component in a recipe.

Because hoisin sauce is quite similar to oyster sauce, you may use it in a manner that is very comparable to how you would use oyster sauce. You should keep in mind that the taste of hoisin sauce is less concentrated, which means you may lose out on some of the heat you are used to. Because of this, Cuisine Vault recommends adding a dash of fish sauce to the dish.

How to Make Oyster Sauce?

When compared to the creation of fish sauce, the preparation of oyster sauce requires less attention to detail.

Cooking oysters in water until the liquid evaporated, leaving behind a thick and syrupy sauce was the original method for making oyster sauce. However, in order to meet the increasing demand for oyster sauce, producers have begun using a variety of cost-cutting strategies in order to maximize profits while simultaneously lowering costs.

Sugar, salt, oyster extracts or essences, and cornstarch are the ingredients that are most often found in contemporary oyster sauce. Some makers of lesser quality items may use MSG, soy sauce, and caramel color in their products in order to rapidly add flavor and color to the sauce.

If you don’t want any MSG or coloring in your food, you should only use high-quality goods like premium oyster sauce.

Due to the relatively cheap price of this sort of sauce, it makes up a large share of the oyster sauce market despite the fact that connoisseurs of fine food may look down their noses at it.

It’s possible that you’re questioning whether or not vegans and vegetarians can consume the oyster sauce. Oyster sauce may be consumed by vegans despite the fact that veganism discourages the consumption of shellfish for ethical reasons.

Look for high-quality vegan oyster sauces that are made with mushroom extracts if you want to include this condiment to a diet that is totally plant-based; otherwise, you will need to find an alternative.

The vast majority of average customers have trouble telling the difference between oyster-flavored sauce and actual oyster sauce.

What is the Difference Between Fish Sauce and Oyster Sauce?

There are obvious distinctions in terms of look, flavor, and aroma between fish sauce and oyster sauce. These variances may be seen when comparing the two sauces. If you read the next piece, I have no doubt that you will never get these two things confused again.

Fish Sauce

The consistency of fish sauce is more similar to that of a liquid than that of the other two. In most cases, it has a hue that is amber, deep brown, or reddish-brown. The first extraction, which is also the batch with the greatest quality, has a hue that is similar to a light amber and is nearly completely clear.

In spite of the fact that the fish sauce is not very thick, its taste more than makes up for its lack of consistency in this regard. This sauce has a bold taste that is salty and umami, and it also has distinct overtones of fishiness.

The longer the sauce is allowed to ferment, the less fishy flavor it will retain. During the fermenting process, the condiment will acquire a robust taste that is reminiscent of nuts.

Fish sauce has a potent perfume that is very reminiscent of fish, and it may be too strong for some people’s tastes. On the other hand, the greatest fish sauce will not have a “stinky” odor, but rather a fragrance that is dark, rich, and similar to that of soy sauce.

You may try adding some lime juice to the sauce if you find that you do not like the aroma of the sauce. This will help to neutralize the taste and make the sauce easier to smell. You might also reduce the quantity in order to prevent the flavor from competing too strongly with that of the other components.

Oyster Sauce

The oyster sauce has a dark brown color that is practically black and is quite thick and sticky. The thickness of the sauce is often achieved these days by caramelizing sugar and mixing it with cornstarch.

The look of oyster sauce seems to be somewhat comparable to that of hoisin sauce. On the other hand, if you pay attention to the texture, smell, and taste of hoisin sauce, you will be able to distinguish it from oyster sauce.

Although it has a taste that is noticeably more subdued than that of fish sauce, the flavor of oyster sauce is not in any way diminished by this fact.

It has a sweet taste, a salty taste, a savory taste, and a lot of umami taste. The greatest oyster sauce will have an earthy taste profile, and some people have characterized this sauce as being similar to a sweeter and less salty combination of soy sauce and barbecue sauce.

As can be seen, the tastes of fish sauce and oyster sauce are rather unlike to one another. Fish sauce, on the other hand, may be substituted for oyster sauce in an emergency situation. You may need to make some adjustments to your recipe in order to integrate fish sauce, but I am certain that you will like the final product.

If you can’t handle the strong smell of fish sauce, you’ll be relieved to learn that oyster sauce has a far more enticing smell than fish sauce does. If you make a concerted effort, you may be able to pick up on the aroma of the flesh. In such case, the scent of oyster sauce won’t be able to grab anyone’s attention.

Oyster Sauce Contains What Ingredients?

Oysters, salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate (MSG), modified corn starch, wheat flour, and caramel color are the components that go into making oyster sauce. In place of oysters, vegetarian versions of this dish generally make use of soybeans, brown sugar, and a flavoring made from mushrooms.

The majority of the flavor in oyster sauce comes from the oysters themselves. Some oyster sauces include extra components, including corn starch, and are thickened using a thickener. These sauces may be found. If you don’t like the flavor of shellfish, whether it’s raw or cooked, you probably shouldn’t eat foods that include oyster sauce since it’s a popular component in many Chinese cuisines. If you wish to prepare a dish without using oysters, you may use soy sauce made from fish or another soy-based product.

When Should Oyster Sauce be Used And When Should Fish Sauce be Used?

Both a flavoring and a thickener, oyster sauce is most useful when included into stir-fry sauces. Because of its mild sweetness, it pairs nicely with leafy greens, which assist to balance out the harshness of the greens. Additionally, it might be used in the capacity of a dipping sauce. Any dish that might use some thickening and a salty, umami taste would benefit from the addition of oyster sauce.

Fish sauce may be used in place of oyster sauce in recipes that call for a robust umami flavor and a saltiness but do not call for the oyster sauce’s thick, syrupy consistency. Nuoc cham, for example, is a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, and in Vietnam, it is often served with a wide variety of foods, including grilled meats, noodles, egg rolls, and egg rolls, among other things.

What are the Best Oyster Sauce Brands?

The brand of Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce comes highly recommended by Cook’s Illustrated.

On the internet, you’ll discover a range of replies, but the Lee Kum Kee brand and its distinctive Premium Oyster Sauce seem to be the most well-liked choices among consumers.

Amazon reviews claim that the product’s quality has much improved, and that it now includes natural oysters; nonetheless, it does not lack MSG. It should come as no surprise that the Lee Kum Kee brand has a high level of customer devotion given that it is the oldest oyster sauce brand in the world. When I was a youngster, my family always kept this particular brand in our cupboard.

A Singaporean named Jirah Tan, who has lived in Asia, Europe, and the United States, suggests using Thai oyster sauce in Thai meals and Chinese sauce in Chinese dishes. He has traveled extensively across Asia, Europe, and the United States. According to her, Thai oyster sauces have a stronger “taste of the sea” and include more salt than other oyster sauces. Maekura, a Thai brand, comes highly recommended by her.

We have not been able to come across an artisanal brand that caramelizes oyster broth using the labor-intensive method that was originally used. It’s possible that most people haven’t really experienced the real thing, which is why there isn’t a lot of demand for it. This homemade recipe gives it a shot, but its ingredients are incompatible with those included in the formulation for “genuine oyster sauce,” which prevents the addition of any additions.

Is it Possible to Make Thai Food with Chinese Oyster Sauce?

Yes. While the flavors of Thai and Chinese oyster sauces are noticeably different in a tasting test, they are near enough in flavor in a dish that it will not seem inauthentic. If it helps, Panda is probably certainly used by your neighborhood Thai restaurant.

I typically purchase LKK Boat Lady since it is the best of my options. When I go to the Thai store, though, I usually buy a bottle of Maekrua because it’s what I grew up with, and the bottle has a strong nostalgia effect on me.

However, I was amazed by how better Boat Lady is than Maekrua following this taste test.

So…it has an effect. I’ll probably buy Maekrua much less now, as terrible as that is.

Maekrua, on the other hand, will almost likely deliver if you have a memory of a dish you had in Thailand and want it to taste exactly how you recall.


The taste of oyster sauce may be described as a combination of those of fish sauce and soy sauce. It is dark brown in color and has a viscosity that is thick and syrupy. A suitable replacement ought to be able to imitate these tastes and sensations as closely as is humanly feasible. Numerous Chinese, Thai, and other Asian foods are enhanced by the addition of oyster sauce. However, there is a possibility that you may not always have it available.

We are fortunate to have a number of options available to us in place of this condiment. Some of them taste almost exactly like oyster sauce, while others have a texture that is akin to oyster sauce. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets are also offered.


What is difference between oyster sauce and fish sauce?

Taste: Oyster sauce has more of a sweet and briny flavor to it, but fish sauce has a flavor that is far more fishy and salty than oyster sauce does. 2. Components: The fermented anchovies that form the foundation of fish sauce are the second component. Oyster sauce gets its name from the process of reducing and caramelizing oysters, which is how it’s prepared.

What is an alternative to fish sauce?

The soy sauce. Anyone who wishes to manufacture their own fish sauce alternative may get a flavor profile that is comparable to that of fish sauce by mixing soy sauce with vinegar or by using minced anchovies. Individuals also have the option of utilizing soy sauce to prepare a broth, either on its own or in combination with mushrooms.

Can I use oyster sauce instead of fish sauce in soup?

However, there are a few things to take in mind despite the fact that oyster sauce may be substituted for fish sauce at a ratio of 1:1. Because oyster sauce is more viscous than fish sauce, you may need to dilute it with a little water before using it. Sugar is often used in the preparation of oyster sauce, which results in the sauce having a sweeter flavor than fish sauce.

Does oyster sauce taste like fish?

In spite of its name, it does not have any flavor that is associated with fish since it is manufactured from oyster extract. Oyster sauce, on the other hand, has a flavor profile that is earthy, somewhat sweet, and salty. It is a combination of caramelized oyster fluids, salt, and sugar, and some versions also contain soy sauce that has been thickened with cornstarch. The oyster juices are cooked down until they become a mixture.

What flavor does oyster sauce add?

You can add layers of nuanced salty-sweet umami taste to any meal, whether it’s made with meat or vegetables, all you need is a dab of oyster sauce.