Are you a fan of Chinese cuisine? If so, you’ve likely encountered both Duck Sauce and Yum Yum Sauce.
But are they the same thing?
Despite their similar appearance and placement on the table at teppanyaki restaurants, these two sauces have distinct differences in flavor and origin.
In this article, we’ll explore the history and ingredients of both sauces to determine whether or not they can be considered one and the same.
So sit back, grab some chopsticks, and get ready to learn about the delicious world of Chinese condiments.
Is Duck Sauce Yum Yum Sauce?
Let’s start by defining each sauce. Duck Sauce is a popular Chinese condiment made from plums, spices, honey, and other ingredients. It is typically used as a dipping sauce for fried foods like egg rolls and crispy noodles.
On the other hand, Yum Yum Sauce is a creamy, pinkish sauce that is commonly served at Japanese steakhouses. It is made from mayonnaise, tomato paste, sugar, and other seasonings. It is often used as a dipping sauce for seafood, vegetables, and rice.
While both sauces are commonly found in Chinese and Japanese restaurants, they have distinct differences in flavor and origin.
What Is Duck Sauce?
Duck Sauce, also known as Orange Sauce, is a translucent orange condiment that is commonly found in American Chinese cuisine. Despite its name, the sauce is not made from duck meat, but rather from plums, apricots, pineapples, or peaches. These fruits give the sauce a sweet taste that is balanced by the addition of vinegar, chili sauce, and soy sauce. The sauce has a sweet and sour flavor that is perfect for dipping deep-fried dishes such as wonton strips, spring rolls, egg rolls, chicken, fish, and rice or noodles. It can also be used as a glaze on foods like poultry. Duck Sauce is usually served in single-serving packets along with soy sauce, mustard, hot sauce or red chili powder. Overall, Duck Sauce is a delicious condiment that adds a unique flavor to your favorite Chinese dishes.
The Origins Of Duck Sauce
The origins of duck sauce are somewhat murky, with theories abound about its history. One theory suggests that the sauce was originally served with Peking duck, a traditional Chinese dish that has been around for hundreds of years. Peking duck is a crispy skinned, roasted duck that is typically served with a sauce made from wheat flour and soybeans for dipping. However, since soybeans are not native to the United States, some people believe that Chinese immigrants created a sweeter substitute using apricots, applesauce, or molasses, and named it duck sauce.
Another theory suggests that duck sauce may have originated from plum sauce, a sweet and sour sauce commonly paired with savory Cantonese dishes like roast duck. Plum sauce is typically made with sweet plums, ginger, garlic, chilis, and vinegar. Over time, the gelatinous orange Chinese-American duck sauce may have been made with other stone fruits like peaches that are more typical of the United States.
Despite its name, duck sauce is not prepared using duck meat. Rather, it is named as such because it is a common accompaniment to Chinese-style duck dishes. The original duck sauce was likely what the Chinese would call plum sauce or perhaps an Americanized version of it.
What Is Yum Yum Sauce?
Yum Yum Sauce is a popular condiment that originated in Japanese cuisine. It is a mayonnaise-based sauce that has a creamy texture and a pinkish hue. The sauce is typically made with mayonnaise, tomato paste, sugar, and other seasonings such as garlic powder and onion powder. Some Japanese chefs also add their own special touches to the sauce, such as mirin, a sweet rice wine used for cooking.
Yum Yum Sauce is often served as a dipping sauce for seafood, vegetables, and rice at Japanese steakhouses. However, it can also be used as a dressing for salads or as a sauce for burgers and sandwiches. The sauce has a sweet and tangy flavor with a slight nuttiness from the sesame oil.
While Yum Yum Sauce is commonly found in Japanese cuisine, it has become popular in other parts of the world as well. Many people have tried to recreate the sauce at home and have come up with their own variations. Some recipes include ingredients such as paprika, ketchup, and rice vinegar to enhance the flavor of the sauce.
The Origins Of Yum Yum Sauce
The origins of Yum Yum Sauce are somewhat unclear, but it is believed to be an entirely American invention. According to Polly Adema, director of the food studies program at California’s College of the Pacific, the sauce’s origins are likely not deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Instead, the sauce may have been created due to congruent American and modern Japanese tastes for mayonnaise.
The sauce is also known as white sauce or shrimp sauce, and it was originally devised to accompany the theater and steak/chicken/shrimp line-up served in teppanyaki restaurants. However, it wasn’t until Terry Ho came along that Yum Yum Sauce became available for home use. Ho, who was born into a family of restaurateurs, decided to open a fast casual Japanese restaurant named Hibachi Express. It was there that Terry Ho’s Yum Yum Sauce was born. Diners would come and leave with extra containers of sauce, and it was such a success that he decided it was worth bottling it to sell commercially.
Today, Terry Ho’s Yum Yum Sauce can be found in stores across the country, along with its sister condiment, Japanese Ginger Dressing. While Yum Yum Sauce may be commonly associated with Japanese cuisine, it is purely American and not a traditional Japanese condiment.
When it comes to ingredients, Duck Sauce and Yum Yum Sauce have some similarities but also some significant differences. Duck sauce typically includes apricot preserves or Chinese plum sauce, along with vinegar and soy sauce for added flavor. Some recipes may also include chopped fresh fruit or preserves. In contrast, Yum Yum Sauce is made primarily from mayonnaise, ketchup, and sugar, along with seasonings like garlic powder and onion powder.
One key difference between the two sauces is their sweetness. Duck Sauce has a fruity taste due to the use of plums or apricots, while Yum Yum Sauce is more tangy and sweet. Another difference is the consistency of the sauces. Duck Sauce can be chunky due to the use of fruit pieces, while Yum Yum Sauce is typically smooth and creamy.
Finally, the color of the sauces also differs. Duck Sauce often has a yellow or light amber color due to its use of paler fruits, while Yum Yum Sauce is usually a pale pink color due to the use of tomato paste.
Flavor Profile Comparison
When it comes to flavor, Duck Sauce has a sweet and tangy taste with a hint of spice. The plum and honey ingredients give it a fruity sweetness, while the spices provide a subtle kick. Yum Yum Sauce, on the other hand, has a creamy and slightly sweet taste with a hint of tomato flavor. The mayonnaise base gives it a rich and smooth texture, while the sugar and seasonings provide a subtle sweetness.
In terms of the five basic flavors, Duck Sauce leans towards sweet and sour, with a touch of umami from the spices. Yum Yum Sauce, on the other hand, is mostly sweet with a hint of umami from the tomato paste. Both sauces have a low level of bitterness and saltiness.
When it comes to the supporting flavors, Duck Sauce has a fruity and spicy profile. The plum and honey ingredients give it a fruity sweetness, while the spices provide a subtle kick of heat. Yum Yum Sauce, on the other hand, has a creamy and slightly tangy profile. The mayonnaise base gives it a rich and smooth texture, while the tomato paste adds a subtle tanginess.