Why Do They Call Duck Sauce Duck Sauce?

Served with duck sauce and hot mustard in an American Chinese restaurant are wonton strips.

The condiment known as duck sauce (also known as orange sauce) has a sweet and sour taste with a translucent orange color that resembles a thin jelly. It is available at American Chinese restaurants and is eaten with rice or noodles, wonton strips, spring rolls, egg rolls, duck, chicken, and other fried foods. It is sometimes offered in single-serving sachets with condiments such red chili powder, soy sauce, mustard, and hot sauce. It can be applied as a glaze on dishes like poultry. [3] Despite its name, the sauce is not made with duck; rather, it was given that name since it is frequently served as a side dish with Chinese-style duck entrees. [4]

Are ducks used to make duck sauce?

Before continuing, it is important to state unequivocally that no actual ducks are harmed during the preparation of duck sauce. The link of the condiment’s name with the roasted duck dishes popular in Cantonese restaurants is probably how it got its name. According to Michelin, these birds are roasted with a star-studded cast of herbs and seasonings, including star anise, ginger, and spring onion, before being hung up in front of restaurant windows with other delectables like roast pork belly and Chinese barbecue pork, char siu, as part of a roast meat extravaganza called siu mei.

Because sugary dried fruits, tart vinegar, and salty soy sauce are combined, duck sauce has the ideal ratio of sweet and savory flavors. Duck sauce has also developed into a typical dipping sauce for a variety of Chinese American cuisine, despite the fact that it may have been “initially devised to balance off the richness of roasted duck and deep-fried delicacies,” as stated by Food Republic.

What does the name “duck sauce” mean?

If you are from the Midwest or Eastern seaboard of the United States, duck sauce is probably a packet of orange jelly-like sauce that is served with Chinese takeout and is similar to sweet-and-sour sauce but has a fruitier flavor. It is frequently used for dipping fried meals like egg rolls, crispy noodles, and other fried delicacies. Most New Englanders associate duck sauce with the chunky, sweet, and brownish sauce that is typically offered at the table in Chinese restaurants. Furthermore, there’s a good possibility you’ve never even heard of it if you’re a native of the San Francisco Bay Area or a city like San Diego.

When you type “duck sauce” into Google, you’ll find people who want to combine the “duck sauce” and “plum sauce” entries on Wikipedia. Some claim they are identical or, at the very least, that duck sauce, which also contains apricots, is derived from plum sauce (and sometimes peaches). Others strongly disagree. You can find former Bostonians lamenting the existence of those orange-filled packets and West Coast transplants desperately looking for a good replacement for the sauce they used to have at home on culinary message boards.

It’s unclear where the term “duck sauce” came from, but O’Connor and Kellerman think it was first served with duck. Peking duck, a crispy-skinned, roasted duck flavorful with herbs that has been a staple in China for hundreds of years, is unlike chow mein or General Tso’s Chicken, American inventions that have no place on a traditional Chinese food menu. It typically (though not always) comes with a sauce made from wheat flour and soybeans for dipping. Since soybeans aren’t indigenous to the country, some people believe that when Chinese immigrants first opened restaurants aimed at satisfying American palates, they substituted a sweeter, friendlier substance made from apricots (or, in the case of New England, applesauce and molasses) and called it duck sauce for obvious reasons.

It is useful to consider a bigger picture, such as American Chinese cuisine, in order to comprehend the regionalism of duck sauce in general. “Why not duck sauce when there are unique Peking Duck buns for the east and west coasts? David R. Chan, a third-generation American and resident of Los Angeles, who has dined at over 6,600 Chinese restaurants—the majority of them in the United States—and who has been documenting his experiences at Chandavkl’s Blog since 2009, agrees.

Another cuisine that differs between the coastlines is chow mein. These variations most likely result from both Chinese immigration patterns and the country’s varied regional cuisine tastes. The nation’s initial Chinese eateries, which were primarily Cantonese, were only found in places where Chinese immigrants settled (or were compelled to settle), especially the U.S. west coast and major “Chinatowns” across the country. Then, in the 1960s, the United States relaxed its nearly century-old immigration restrictions, allowing an unprecedented number of Chinese immigrants from places like Szechuan and Hunan to settle in the US. They brought their own special dishes and cuisines with them.

However, why doesn’t “duck sauce” of any kind originate from the West Coast? Chan claims to have occasionally, but infrequently, encountered packets of duck sauce in California. “Actually, Chan claims, I hardly ever saw the packets in the past in the Los Angeles region. “Even if they are still not very common, they appear to be a more recent development currently. Chan immediately assumed I was referring to the reddish marmalade-looking sauce that frequently accompanies Peking Duck in Cantonese restaurants when I first texted him about duck sauce. In the end, it is the sauce that is served with the duck. Although hoisin sauce, which is typically consisting of soy sauce, chiles, and garlic, is what is used most frequently, the term “duck sauce” may simply be implied.

The biggest producers of duck sauce packets, such W.Y Industries and Yi Pin Food Products, are headquartered in the New Jersey and New York regions, thus perhaps the word “duck sauce” never made it out west. In the 1970s and 1980s, when the West Coast’s taste for Chinese food was already well-known, these businesses were also developed. A popular specialty duck sauce made with apricot and peaches is sold by New York-based Saucy Susan Products. A New York Times article from October 12, 1981 discusses the company’s goal to reach a wider market. As stated in the article, “As part of a three-year plan to go nationwide, [Saucy Susan Products] has engaged one of the big names in the agency business, Levine, Huntley, Schmidt, Plapler & Beaver (they do not come much bigger). It appears that Saucy Susan’s hopes were never fully realized.

In the end, it’s possible that we’ll never understand the origin of the word “duck sauce” or why one person’s packet of jelly-like sauce is another’s plum-colored chutney. However, starting your own stocking may be worthwhile for fans of any form of duck sauce.

What does the term “duck sauce” mean?

Duck sauce is a thick sauce used in Chinese cooking that includes herbs, vinegar, sweeteners, and fruits (such plums or apricots).

Is duck sauce truly Chinese in origin?

I’ve been going to Asian Wok, a tiny Chinese takeout place a few blocks from my flat, for six years, and never once have I noticed Liling, the kitchen manager, being frazzled.

She simply pins her thick black hair away from her face and keeps counting even when the restaurant is quite busy and the kitchen reaches scorching temperatures. I’ve been there at all hours, from the busiest lunch hour to that last 30-minute window after last call.

When you observe Liling, you’ll find that her kitchen is governed by numbers: the quantity of tickets that have still to be filled, the number of precisely folded edges on the hastily packaged steamed dumplings, and—possibly most importantly—the quantity of sauce packets assigned to each order.

How many sauce packets each diner receives is determined by a strange, but certainly calculated, math. Before placing the packets into paper bags, Liling counts them. The packets are held in a lockbox behind the counter, just like cards. Despite the fact that each bag receives a different number and combination, the distribution may appear random at first, but after years of observation, I’ve learned that it depends on a number of variables.

The order’s composition, the anticipated number of diners, her opinion of the client (really, I’ve accrued more sauce packets as my standing as a devoted patron has solidified), and the number of fried items on the ticket are all factors. While soy sauce is a given, extra packets of the gleaming orange, jelly-like duck sauce are intended to go with crisp pork wontons and just-out-of-the-fryer egg rolls.

Liling smiled when I questioned her about my sauce math theory and added more duck sauce to the paper bag that contained my crab rangoon.

She remarked, “I only know soy sauce is America’s first choice, and duck sauce is second.

However, what precisely is duck sauce, and perhaps more intriguingly, where does its name come from?

The majority of the thin plastic duck sauce packets you’ll receive with takeout are made mostly of water, sugar, and cornstarch. Typically, those are the first three ingredients; but, after that, things get interesting. The sauce’s fruity taste and at least some of its orange coloration are both derived from the ingredient apricot (the rest is made up by artificial caramel coloring and, frequently, Yellow Dye No. 6, which is a “sunset yellow”).

The origin of duck sauce, like many other products on American Chinese takeout menus, is somewhat obscure. There isn’t a single known inventor, restaurant, or place of origin. The apricot, a stone fruit, is a hint that the sauce has roots in traditional Chinese cuisine.

Plum sauce is a sweet and sour condiment that goes well with roast duck and other savory Cantonese cuisine. Common ingredients include sweet plums, another type of stone fruit, ginger, garlic, chilies, and a significant amount of vinegar. It has been suggested that the gelatinous orange Chinese-American duck sauce is a reference to this; over time, it has been produced with various stone fruits, such as peaches, which are more common in the United States, as well as sweets like molasses.

The first is that American versions or interpretations of Chinese sauces frequently wind up being thicker and sweeter. Michael Lin, a writer and food tour guide, claimed that “Chinese American food has a long history and has been profoundly influenced by local ingredients and Americans’ tastes and preferences” when I asked him about the strange and bizarre development of McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce in January.

According to anecdotal evidence, Americans favor sweeter foods over bitter ones and favor thicker sauces like barbecue sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, and salad dressings. The previously lighter (and thinner) sweet and sour sauce was modified to this thicker thickness that we are more accustomed to today in order to “cater or conform to Americans’ preferences,” Lin stated.

Second, we know that plastic sachets for duck sauce weren’t invented until at least 1955. In that year, Harold M. Ross and Yale Kaplan submitted a patent application for “Dispensing Containers for Liquids,” which completely altered the way that we think about condiments for takeout.

In a tiny kitchen in Bohemia, New York, where founder Nelson Yeung originally started putting soy sauce and duck sauce inside those plastic packets, W.Y. Industries was established two decades later. It was stated by the New York Times in 1994, 20 years later, that the company produced more than 700 million packets of its four main products: soy sauce, duck sauce, mustard, and spicy sauce.

When asked at the time if he had become weary of Wah Yoan’s duck sauce after eight years, the company’s vice president of operations, Brian Buchalski, said he frequently squeezed it into a bowl of plain noodles.

In contrast, Buchalski claimed to the Times that he had never consumed it with duck and that “less than 5%” of all duck sauce really makes it to a duck.

Is duck sauce bad for you?

Since sugar makes up the majority of duck sauce, you should only sometimes eat it. The sauce has a lot of sodium and carbs but little protein, vitamins, or minerals.

What materials are used to make Chinese duck sauce?

You can find out how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet by looking at the% Daily Value (DV). 2,000 calories per day is the general recommendation for caloric intake.

(Nutrition data is calculated using an ingredient database and is only a rough approximation.)

Spices, sugar, apricots, and plums are used to make Chinese duck sauce. With duck, chicken, pork, and spareribs, it is a condiment. It’s also frequently known as plum sauce.

Noodles, rice, and grilled or stir-fried veggies go well with duck sauce, which vegetarians will likely refer to as plum sauce. It is an excellent idea to include an extra item for takeout.

Although it’s simple to prepare this delectable sauce at home, it needs to sit for two weeks before being used, so make sure you plan ahead. You’ll notice the difference when using your own fruit and spices, even if there are even easier methods that employ prepackaged preserves.

Are duck sauce and plum sauce interchangeable?

Plum Sauce is a well-known culinary tribute to plums that is another well-known example of this fruit’s honor. also duck sauce Both titles allude to the same thing: a very well-liked, mouthwatering, and adaptable Chinese condiment that you can find in any Chinese takeaway or restaurant. Furthermore, there isn’t a real duck in it. But plums, spices, honey, and other ingredients are what really make this classic and true plum sauce recipe a success.

Now I have to say right away that this isn’t your standard congealed and anemic cornstarch, sugar, vinegar, and food coloring duck sauce that is sold in squeeze bottles or ketchup-style sachets at your neighborhood Chinese restaurant. This is the more traditional, home-style Chinese plum sauce with a much more complex (read: “amazingly wonderful”) taste profile that you’ll only encounter in the greatest Chinese restaurants. A truly fantastic sauce that will wow your taste senses is made up of several levels of flavor.

Should duck sauce be kept in the fridge?

Duck sauce, or plum sauce as it is often known, is an Americanized Chinese dipping sauce that is typically served with duck and fried rolls. It is a sweet, sour, and occasionally spicy sauce. After opening, store duck sauce in the refrigerator to avoid spoiling, get the most use out of the product, and maintain the highest quality.