Oyster sauce is a staple in many Asian kitchens, adding rich umami flavor to a variety of dishes. But for those with dietary restrictions, the question of whether oyster sauce contains MSG can be a concern.
Lee Kum Kee is a well-known brand of oyster sauce, but does their product contain MSG? In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question and provide some additional information about Lee Kum Kee’s oyster sauce.
So, let’s dive in and find out if Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce has MSG!
Does Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce Have MSG?
Yes, Lee Kum Kee’s original oyster sauce does contain MSG. However, the brand does offer a green label version of their oyster sauce that is MSG-free and gluten-free, making it a great option for those with dietary restrictions.
The green label oyster sauce has the same exceptional flavor and rich color as the original, but without the added MSG. This all-purpose seasoning sauce is perfect for dipping, marinating, stir-frying or as a sauce base. It’s made with real oyster extract and flavored with salt and a hint of sugar, giving it a savory flavor with hints of caramelized sweetness.
Lee Kum Kee was established in 1888 when its founder Mr. Lee Kum Sheung invented oyster sauce after accidentally overcooking a batch of oysters, resulting in a fragrant and flavorful sauce. Today, the brand produces over 200 Chinese-style sauces and has become an international household name as well as a symbol of quality and trust.
What Is MSG And Why Is It A Concern?
MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned and processed foods, and even some seasonings, dressings, and condiments. It is a naturally occurring substance found in many foods such as tomatoes, cheese, meat, dairy, corn, and nuts. MSG is made by fermenting sugar beets, sugarcane, and molasses to create the pure salt version of glutamic acid.
Despite being recognized as safe by the FDA, MSG remains a controversial additive due to anecdotal reports of mild reactions in some individuals. However, scientific research has found no evidence of harmful effects from consuming MSG. As a result, the FDA requires food producers to list MSG on the label if their products contain it.
It’s important to note that while Lee Kum Kee’s original oyster sauce does contain MSG, the brand offers a green label version that is MSG-free and gluten-free. This provides a great option for those with dietary restrictions who still want to enjoy the exceptional flavor and rich color of oyster sauce.
The Ingredients In Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce
Lee Kum Kee’s original oyster sauce is made with a blend of high-quality ingredients, including oyster extractives, sugar, water, salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), modified corn starch, wheat flour, and caramel color. Oyster extractives are made by simmering oysters in water and salt until they release their natural flavors and nutrients. This extract is then combined with other ingredients to create the savory and flavorful oyster sauce.
MSG is a common flavor enhancer used in many Asian cuisines. It is made by fermenting starches, such as corn or tapioca, and breaking down the resulting glutamic acid into its sodium salt form. MSG is known to enhance the umami flavor in foods, giving them a savory and meaty taste. However, some people may be sensitive to MSG and experience symptoms such as headaches or nausea.
The modified corn starch and wheat flour in Lee Kum Kee’s oyster sauce act as thickening agents, helping to give the sauce its rich and velvety texture. Caramel color is added to give the sauce its signature dark brown color.
Alternatives To Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce For Those Avoiding MSG
For those avoiding MSG, there are several alternatives to Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce that can be used in recipes. One option is to use a homemade oyster sauce substitute made with ingredients such as soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch. Another option is to use mushroom sauce or vegetarian oyster sauce made with mushroom extract instead of oysters.
Hoisin sauce can also be used as a substitute for oyster sauce, as it has a similar consistency and flavor. However, it’s important to check the label as some brands may contain MSG. Fish sauce is another option, but it has a stronger fishy flavor and may not be suitable for all dishes.
For those looking for a completely MSG-free option, there are several brands of oyster sauce available that do not contain MSG. These include Lee Kum Kee’s green label oyster sauce, as well as other brands such as Kikkoman and Wok Mei. These sauces are made with natural ingredients and still provide the same rich flavor and color as traditional oyster sauce.
Ultimately, the best alternative to Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce for those avoiding MSG will depend on personal taste preferences and the specific recipe being prepared. Experimenting with different sauces and flavors can lead to delicious and unique dishes that cater to individual dietary needs.
Conclusion: Should You Use Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce?
If you’re looking for a delicious and versatile oyster sauce, Lee Kum Kee is definitely worth trying. Their original oyster sauce contains MSG, but they offer a green label version that is MSG-free and gluten-free, making it a great option for those with dietary restrictions. The green label oyster sauce has the same exceptional flavor and rich color as the original, and it’s made with real oyster extract and flavored with salt and a hint of sugar. It’s perfect for dipping, marinating, stir-frying or as a sauce base.
Lee Kum Kee has a long history of producing high-quality Chinese-style sauces, and their oyster sauce is no exception. It’s widely available in most grocery stores and can also be purchased online. Whether you’re cooking Chinese or Indonesian cuisine, oyster sauce can be added to various dishes like meat, vegetables, and seafood to enhance their flavor.