Does Oyster Sauce Have Oysters? Find Out!

Last Updated on October 30, 2022 by Claire

Do you enjoy oyster sauce with your food? If this is the case, you are not alone. Oyster sauce is a traditional condiment that can be found in a variety of dishes around the world. Oyster sauce is a savory, thick sauce made from oysters that have been simmered until their natural juices have been released. Does oyster sauce have oysters?

Oyster sauce is a syrupy concoction made from oysters that deliver umami deliciousness for days. Mollusks are first cooked in water to make a sort of shellfish soup before being processed into an oyster sauce. This is then strained and cooked with salt and sugar until the sweet and savory sea juices caramelize into a dark brown syrup that fulfills culinary dreams. This article will explain what oyster sauce is and some other frequently asked questions.

Does Oyster Sauce Have Oysters?

does oyster sauce have oysters

Oyster Sauce is a thick, sweet-salty sauce with a light marine (fishy) flavor and a high umami content. But, does Oyster sauce have oysters?

Yes, oyster sauce is made from oysters, and it is commonly used in Asian cooking to stir-fry vegetables like bok choy and kai-lan. In general, oyster sauce refers to a variety of sauces made from cooked oysters. Oyster sauce is a condiment made from oysters. It is sometimes referred to as “sea milk” and is primarily used in cooking in southern China, but it is also popular in Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

Despite the fact that oyster sauce is made from oysters, the flavor is unremarkable. This sauce would add a salty, savory, and sweet flavor to your meals while also providing an earthy sensation on the tongue. The quality of any oyster sauce would indicate the presence of an earthy flavor.

It was accidentally invented by Lee Kum Sheung, who allegedly left a pot of oysters on fire. He discovered that this very fragrant sauce had a wonderful taste after it had thickened to a black oily mixture. Then he founded Lee Kum Kee, which is still one of the most important oyster sauce producers today.

What Is Oyster Sauce Used For?

what is oyster sauce used for

Oyster sauce is used in preparing certain dishes. Here, I’ll be discussing some of the uses of Oyster sauce.

Oyster sauce is mostly used in food preparation to give pleasantly salty flavors to a variety of foods. Typically, this sauce is used to enhance the flavors of dishes with meat or vegetables.

This seasoning would be present in every Chinese home for use in cooking food. Noodles, stews, soups, and salad dressing are other dishes that employ it.

Keep an eye on that because appropriate storage will also affect how fresh the sauce is. You must keep your sauce in an airtight container after you’ve opened it. There are various sauces available on the market right now. When buying, pay attention to the labels because each brand will have various qualities.

How is Oyster Sauce Made In Modern-Day?

how is oyster sauce made in modern-day

Oyster sauce was traditionally made by simmering oyster broth until it caramelized into a thick, flavorful dark brown sauce. There is also no additional salt or flavoring because the oysters are more than enough to give the sauce its rich flavor. But, how is Oyster sauce made in the modern day?

Many modern-day oyster sauces, however, are made from oyster extracts or essences rather than actual oysters in order to maximize profits. These sauces are referred to as “oyster flavored sauce” as opposed to “real” oyster sauce.

To quickly create the oyster’s umami flavor, the essence is mixed into a cornstarch-thickened sugar and salt base. To give the sauce deeper flavors and more appealing color, caramel color, soy sauce, and other flavor enhancers such as MSG are commonly used.

Although most people cannot tell the difference between flavored and real oyster sauce, the latter is considered superior in terms of flavor. Today, oyster sauce is an indispensable ingredient in Chinese, Vietnamese, Malay, Khmer, and Thai cuisine. It’s frequently used in marinades, stir-fries, and as a dipping sauce.

Can I Use Fish Sauce Instead of Oyster Sauce?

can i use fish sauce instead of oyster sauce

If you have no oyster sauce in your pantry, the best option is to substitute it with another sauce. So, is it possible to substitute your oyster sauce for fish sauce?

Fish sauce will definitely add a fishy flavor, but it’s not the same as an oyster sauce. Fish sauce produces a fishy, salty sauce with a much sharper flavor.

It could be used as a substitute in some recipes. However, you won’t have the sweetness that comes with oyster sauce. If you use fish sauce, use a small amount of salt; otherwise, you will have a salt overload.

What is a Vegetarian Substitute For Oyster Sauce?

what is a vegetarian substitue for oyster sauce

Oyster sauce is made with oysters or oyster extracts. Despite it being delicious, it cannot be consumed by vegetarians. If you are planning on making an Asian-inspired dish but want to make it vegetarian, then you will get your perfect substitute here.

You should experiment with hoisin sauce. As previously stated, this sauce is the closest substitute for oyster sauce. The sauce contains a variety of seasonings, with soybean paste serving as the foundation.

The best thing about hoisin sauce is that it can be used in place of oyster sauce. In other words, you can use the same amount of hoisin in a recipe as you would oyster sauce.

Does Oyster Sauce Taste Like Oysters?

does oyster sauce taste like oysters

Oyster sauce is a savory sauce commonly used in Chinese cuisine. Would you like to know if an oyster sauce tastes like oysters?

Oyster sauce tastes like a cross between barbecue sauce and soy sauce; it’s sweet and salty, with a strong umami flavor.

While the brininess of the oysters accounts for the saltiness, the complex sweetness includes hints of caramel. Oyster extract is combined with brine, flavor enhancers, caramel coloring, and chemical preservatives to make the commercial oyster sauce. 

As a raw material, oyster contributes to the distinct flavor, which is derived from their free amino acids and 5′-nucleotides. Based on their taste characteristics, free amino acids are classified as umami amino acids, bitter amino acids, and sweet amino acids.

Is Oyster Sauce Healthy?

is oyster sauce healthy

Are you planning to add Oyster sauce to your pantry to add more flavor to your dishes? Are you concerned about how healthy oyster sauce can be? Well, I’ll be discussing if the oyster sauce is healthy.

Not quite. Oyster sauce contains a lot of sodium, which can be bad for your blood pressure. So, if you’re trying to maintain your blood pressure or actively reduce your sodium consumption at every meal, use this sauce sparingly.

Added sugar is also bad for your health. Aside from providing little nutrition, excessive sugar consumption predisposes a person to diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. It is advised that you consume no more than 50 grams of sugar per day.

If you don’t want to use the sauce, stir-fry your greens with spices like garlic, ginger, and peppercorns.

One tablespoon of oyster sauce contains the following ingredients:

  • Sodium:580 milligrams (30 percent of daily recommended intake)
  • 10 kcal

Furthermore, it may contain chloropropanols, which are chemical compounds formed in foods and food ingredients. Soy sauces and oyster sauces have been identified as the primary dietary sources of 3-MCPD for the general population, according to studies (2).

What Can I Use As An Oyster Sauce Substitute?

what can i use as an oyster sauce substitute

Oyster sauce is a salty seasoning used in stir-fries, marinades, soups, and stews. It is known for adding a kick to dishes. If you are one to substitute something for another, then you might be looking for the perfect substitute for oyster sauce.

If you run out of oyster sauce, substitute soy sauce. Alternatively, half the amount of fish sauce (nuoc mam) and add a pinch of sugar. If you have it, hoisin sauce is another option. If you’re looking for a vegan option, Asian grocery stores sell mushroom-based oyster sauce substitutes. Lee Kum Kee, for example, sells it as a mushroom vegetarian stir-fry sauce.

Oyster sauce is widely used in Asian kitchens to enhance hot dishes by highlighting the fifth flavor, umami, which is similar to that of broth and meat. In general, it should not be overheated in order to preserve its nutrients.

The cultivation of oysters used in the production of oyster sauce will vary greatly depending on where you live. Sometimes they are wild oysters, sometimes farmed oysters, and the packaging will not always be clear on this point.

On the coast, they are typically produced in Fujian and Guangdong. The northern oyster contains more phosphorus (180 mg per 100g not dried versus 10 mg), whereas the southern oyster contains more calcium (165 mg versus 118 mg) and vitamin A. 

Oyster sauce is prepared at the same time as cooked dried oysters. The cooking juice is then collected, reduced, and blended into the oyster sauce. The result is a thick, tasty, umami-rich oyster sauce.

What Does Oyster Sauce Taste Like?

does oyster sauce have oysters

Oyster sauce is known for adding a dark caramel color to your dishes. Would you like to know what an oyster sauce actually tastes like?

The flavor of oyster sauce is distinctive. It tastes sweet, salty, and briny from the oysters. Oyster sauce is frequently described as having an “umami,” or intensely savory flavor.

Oyster sauces come in a variety of flavors and textures. Some oyster sauces contain extra ingredients, such as dried scallops, which give them a strong seafood flavor. There are also healthier oyster sauce options that are gluten-free or have lower sodium levels to appeal to consumer preferences.

Oyster sauces may taste slightly different depending on the brand and country of origin. Chinese oyster sauces may taste different than Japanese or Thai oyster sauces. Examine the list of ingredients to get a better idea of what the flavor profile might taste like.

Best Oyster Sauce

  1. Maekrua Thai Oyster Sauce

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The Maekrua Thai Oyster Sauce is ideal for all-purpose seasoning. When it comes to true premium products, this is it. The manufacturer has years of experience producing the best Asian sauces, particularly oyster sauce.

When it comes to taste and quality, maekrua products are the gold standard. The manufacturers create this brand for your stir-fry dishes using oyster extracts, soybeans, corn starch, wheat flour, and sodium benzoate. It is one of the best Thai sauces for adding a charming accent to your meal.


  • Rich flavor.
  • Excellent for making a stir-fry.
  • Excellent for seasoning.


  • Expensive.

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I answered the question, “does oyster sauce contain oysters?” in this article. In addition to general information about the oyster sauce, we will tell you about six alternatives that will give your dishes the same incredible flavor.