[Flavor Friday] Oyster Sauce

What is oyster sauce?

Oyster sauce is a dark-brown rich sauce that has a syrup-like texture which is commonly used in Chinese/Cantonese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines. The sauce is a mixture of soy sauce, oyster extract, salt, sugar, and starch to create a thickened sauce texture.

What does it taste like?

Oyster sauce is slightly sweet, salty, but is less fishy and more like the caramelized oyster juice flavor. Some say it is like a sweeter version of a mix between barbeque sauce and soy sauce but less of the complex flavor that barbeque sauce brings. Often time people may confuse oyster sauce with Hoisin Sauce. Hoisin sauce is mainly is derived from soybeans instead of oyster but the texture and form are similar to oyster sauce.

Commonly Used Cases

In most cases, you can find oyster sauce in the sauce section at the Asian markets. Usually, it is packaged in bottles (either glass or plastic). For unopened oyster sauce, it can be stored in the pantry or shelves. Once opened, the oyster sauce needs to be refrigerated. Unopened oyster sauce can usually be stored for 1 year; whereas opened & refrigerated ones can last about 6 months. For cooking, people usually use the oyster sauce to help marinate the meat before cooking. It is also great as a dipping sauce, to drizzle on top of vegetables, or to stir fry it with noodles and meat.


Stir Fry Beef with Oyster Sauce, Black-Pepper Beef, or dishes involving marinading process.

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