Oyster Sauce: What Is It and How to Use It in Chinese Cuisine

Chinese Chicken with oyster sauce recipes
Chinese Chicken with oyster sauce recipes. StockFood Getty Images

Oyster sauce is a rich sauce made from boiled oysters and seasonings. Despite the name, oyster sauce doesn’t have a fishy taste at all (boiling the oysters takes care of that). This rich savory sauce is used in meat and vegetable dishes and is an important ingredient in Cantonese cooking. Oyster sauce brands have a wide price range but make sure you steer clear of the cheaper brands if possible as they can contain MSG.

Oyster sauce is commonly used in Cantonese, Thai, Vietnamese and Khmer cuisine. 

Although the Buddhist vegetarian diet does permit the eating of oysters, vegetarian brands that use mushrooms as a substitute are available. Oyster sauce is normally sold in bottles, but is sometimes sold in cans. Be sure to refrigerate bottled oyster sauce after opening. For canned oyster sauce, transfer to a closed jar and refrigerate.

Recommended Brands

  • Regular Oyster Sauce: Hop Sing Lung, Lee Kum Kee
  • Vegetarian Oyster Sauce: Lee Kum Kee

Delicious Recipes That Required to Use Oyster Sauce

  •  Beef With Broccoli Stir-Fry in Restaurant Style Recipe: Stir-fries are one of the most common and popular types of dishes in Chinese cuisine and beef with broccoli is one of the most popular stir-fry recipes. This recipe will give you a restaurant style version of this popular and delicious dish.
  •  Beef Lo Mein: Beef and egg noodles are tossed in a flavorful oyster sauce. This recipe is not just delicious but also quick and easy to make.
  •  Chinese Stir-Fry Beef With Oyster Sauce: Oyster sauce enhances the natural flavour of beef in this quick and easy stir-fry recipe.
  •  Stir-Fry Beef With Bamboo Shoots: This is one of my favourite stir-fry recipes to make during the week. It calls for a higher ratio of meat than is frequently found in Chinese recipes.
  •  Chinese Chicken in Oyster Sauce: Delicious stir-fry chicken in oyster sauce recipe. You can use both chicken thigh fillet or chicken breast.
  •  Mah Gu Gai Pin: Mah Gu Gai Pin means “fresh mushrooms cooked with sliced chicken”. This is a stable dish in America-Chinese cuisine.
  •  Chicken With Almonds: Delicious stir-fry chicken with vegetables and almonds. The almonds give this stir-fry dish a nutty aroma. It makes this dish extra delicious and special.
  •  Oyster Sauce Chicken With Spinach Noodles: This recipe tells you how to make delicious oyster sauce chicken and how to make super healthy home made Chinese spinach noodles. It also introduces you to two of my favourite sauces from the same company: Lee Kum Kee’s panda brand oyster sauce and also their hoisin sauce.
  • Broccoli With Oyster Sauce: Oyster sauce not only goes well with stir-fry chicken and beef but it also goes very well with other vegetables, especially iceberg lettuce. This recipes shows you a very quick, healthy, delicious and easy way to prepare your vegetables with oyster sauce.
  • Blanched Chinese Broccoli With Oyster Sauce: Oyster sauce nicely complements the slightly bitter sweet taste of Chinese broccoli (gai lan). Blanching turns Chinese broccoli a beautiful jade green, but you can use regular broccoli if it’s not available.
  •  Stir-Fried Mushrooms With Oyster Sauce: Savory vegetarian oyster sauce enhances the earthy flavor of dried black mushrooms.
  •  Chinese Garlic Sauce Recipe: A recipe for Chinese garlic sauce with oyster sauce, two types of soy sauce and pungent fresh garlic. You can use this sauce as dipping sauce, marinade for meat or you can even put it in a stir-fry dish and use as a cooking sauce.