Are you a fan of Chinese cuisine? If so, you’ve probably come across duck sauce at some point.
This sweet and fruity condiment is a staple in many Chinese restaurants and can be used as a dip or dressing for a variety of dishes.
But with so many brands and varieties available, it can be tough to know which one to choose.
Fear not, because we’ve done the research for you.
In this article, we’ll explore the world of duck sauce and help you determine the best one to buy for your taste buds.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover the ultimate duck sauce experience.
What Is The Best Duck Sauce To Buy?
After conducting extensive research and taste testing, we have determined that the best duck sauce to buy is one that has a perfect balance of sweetness and fruitiness.
One brand that stands out from the rest is a dark, thick sauce made with apricots and applesauce. This sauce has a complex flavor that is both sweet and warm, making it the perfect pairing for any Chinese food favorite.
Another great option is a fat-free kosher sauce that has a slightly sweet taste and a good thick texture. This sauce is made with high-quality ingredients and is perfect for those who are health-conscious or have dietary restrictions.
When it comes to choosing the best duck sauce, it’s important to consider the texture, flavor, and ingredients. Look for a sauce that has a good balance of sweetness and fruitiness, and one that is made with high-quality ingredients.
What Is Duck Sauce And Its Origins?
Duck sauce, also known as orange sauce, is a popular condiment in American Chinese cuisine. It has a sweet and sour flavor and a translucent orange appearance similar to a thin jelly. Typically served as a dip for deep-fried dishes like wonton strips, spring rolls, egg rolls, duck, chicken, fish, or with rice or noodles, it is often provided in single-serving packets along with soy sauce, mustard, hot sauce or red chili powder. Despite its name, the sauce does not contain any duck meat; rather, it is named as such because it is a common accompaniment to Chinese-style duck dishes.
The origins of duck sauce are somewhat murky, but it is widely believed to be an American invention with ties back to traditional Chinese cooking. According to some researchers, the first version of the sauce was simply plum sauce or what Americans in the early and mid-20th century called plum sauce. In some places, plum sauce is still referred to as duck sauce. While the two sauces have similar flavor profiles, they are not the same. Duck sauce was likely an attempt by early Chinese cooks to simulate the plum sauce flavor with Western ingredients like apricots and pears.
The name “duck sauce” may have originated from Western Chinese restaurants serving it with Peking Duck under the mistaken impression that this was an authentic practice. In reality, Peking Duck is traditionally served with hoisin sauce. Some theories suggest that duck sauce was originally the sauce used for Peking Duck and was renamed for Americans to make it easier for them to pronounce or understand. Others believe that duck sauce was an American variation of plum or hoisin sauce.
The Different Types Of Duck Sauce Available In The Market
There are several different types of duck sauce available in the market, each with its own unique flavor and texture. One popular commercial brand is Dai Day, which is known for its tangy and sweet taste.
Another type of duck sauce is the homemade variety, which can be made using apricot jam, vinegar, and spices. This version of the sauce has a more authentic flavor and can be customized to suit individual tastes.
Some other variations of duck sauce include plum sauce, sweet and sour sauce, and sweet chili sauce. While these sauces may not have the same fruitiness as traditional duck sauce, they still offer a sweet and tangy flavor that pairs well with Chinese dishes.
It’s important to note that some duck sauces may contain high amounts of sugar or preservatives, so it’s important to read the ingredients list before making a purchase. Look for sauces that are made with natural ingredients and have a lower sugar content.
Factors To Consider When Choosing The Best Duck Sauce
When choosing the best duck sauce, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, it’s important to consider the flavor profile of the sauce. Duck sauce should have a balance of sweetness and fruitiness, with a hint of tanginess to cut through any richness in the food it’s paired with. Look for a sauce that has a complex flavor, with notes of dried fruit and spices.
Another important factor to consider is the texture of the sauce. Most mass-produced duck sauces have a smooth texture, but some may contain bits of fruit. Consider what texture will work best for your intended use, whether it’s as a dipping sauce or a glaze for meats.
It’s also important to take into account the ingredients used in the sauce. Look for a sauce made with high-quality ingredients, such as real fruit and natural spices. Avoid sauces that contain excessive amounts of sugar or preservatives, as these can negatively impact the overall flavor and nutritional value of the sauce.
Finally, price may also be a consideration when choosing the best duck sauce. While some higher-end brands may be more expensive, they often use higher-quality ingredients and have a more complex flavor profile. However, there are also budget-friendly options available that still offer a good balance of sweetness and fruitiness.
Our Top Picks For The Best Duck Sauce Brands
1. Ah-So: This New England favorite has been around for decades and for good reason. Its dark, thick sauce made with apricots and applesauce has a complex flavor that is both sweet and warm, making it the perfect pairing for any Chinese food favorite.
2. Dai Day: This fat-free kosher sauce has a slightly sweet taste and a good thick texture. It is made with high-quality ingredients and is perfect for those who are health-conscious or have dietary restrictions.
3. Kikkoman: This plum sauce came out on top during our taste tests with rave reviews. It has a very tasty and yummy flavor that goes well with everything, especially Peking duck. It also shines in chicken, beef, and fish dishes.
4. Koon Chun: This plum sauce goes against the grain and gives you flavors different from those with which traditional plum sauce is known, and it works! Try using it as a glaze or marinade for your barbeque.
5. Lee Kum Kee/Wok Mei: These two sauces were close but the Wok Mei sauce came out on top because of its gluten-free ingredients. The Lee Kum Kee sauce might be considered too sweet by some people.
6. Dynasty: This versatile and tasty sauce is still a good choice, especially for those that don’t want a very sweet sauce. However, the other sauces did better during our taste tests.
How To Use Duck Sauce In Cooking And Serving Suggestions
Duck sauce is a versatile condiment that can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the flavor of your dishes. Here are some cooking and serving suggestions to help you make the most out of your duck sauce:
1. Use it as a dipping sauce: Duck sauce is commonly used as a dipping sauce for fried appetizers such as egg rolls, wontons, and spring rolls. Its sweet and tangy flavor complements the crispy texture of these dishes perfectly.
2. Glaze for meat: Duck sauce can be used as a glaze for meat, such as chicken wings or spare ribs. Simply brush the sauce over the meat before baking or grilling to add a sweet and sticky coating.
3. Salad dressing: Mix duck sauce with some soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil to create a delicious Asian-inspired salad dressing. It pairs well with salads that contain fruits such as oranges or apples.
4. Pizza topping: For a unique twist on pizza, use duck sauce as a topping instead of tomato sauce. Top with shredded chicken, scallions, and mozzarella cheese for a Peking chicken pizza.
5. Shortcut sweet and sour sauce: If you’re short on time, mix duck sauce with some soy sauce and cornstarch to create a quick and easy sweet and sour sauce. It’s perfect for dipping chicken nuggets or drizzling over stir-fry dishes.
FAQs About Duck Sauce
Here are some frequently asked questions about duck sauce:
1. What is duck sauce made of?
Duck sauce is typically made from a combination of dried fruits, vinegar, and spices. The exact ingredients can vary depending on the brand or recipe, but most commonly include apricots, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce.
2. Is duck sauce the same as plum sauce?
No, duck sauce and plum sauce are not the same things. While both are used as condiments or dipping sauces for Asian dishes, plum sauce is made primarily from plums and has a stronger flavor profile than duck sauce.
3. Is duck sauce healthy?
Like most condiments, duck sauce should be used in moderation due to its high sugar content. However, homemade versions can be made with less sugar and can be a healthier option than store-bought varieties.
4. Can I use duck sauce for anything other than Chinese food?
Yes! Duck sauce can be used as a sweet and tangy glaze for meats or vegetables, as a marinade for chicken or pork, or even as a spread on sandwiches.
5. Do I need to refrigerate duck sauce?
Most commercially produced duck sauces do not need to be refrigerated until they are opened. However, homemade versions should be stored in the fridge to prevent spoilage. Be sure to check the label or recipe for specific storage instructions.