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Thread: What's the best brand of oyster sauce?

  1. #1
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    What's the best brand of oyster sauce?

    There are 10 trillion of them out there! I can't help but think there's got to be a range of quality, but I have no idea which should be best. Does anyone shop with a Chinese cook or someone who knows the difference among all the brands? I'd like to find a good one and stick with it. Looking for a LTR, I guess.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  2. #2
    My husband is chinese and his parents have always used Lee Kum Kee (it's got a panda on the label) and so that's what we use here.

  3. #3
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    Oyster Sauce

    I've been shopping in NYC's Chinatown for over 25 years and long ago, learned from the shopkeepers to buy Koon Chun products, particularly the hoisin, oyster and soy sauces. I also like the Lee Kum Kee products.
    Enjoy! BTW, are you cooking anything special with it? I love oyster sauce and use it frequently. I have a great classic recipe for Oyster Beef if you're interested.

    Karen

  4. #4
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    I use Mae Krua
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  5. #5
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    Lee Kum Kee is the one I have currently, Apricot (never seem to buy the same one twice). No panda on the bottle, though - it's this one:


    Nothing in particular, KGL (well that's not entirely true, tonight I made a variation on this Thai Chicken with Green Beans and Basil) but I use it fairly frequently in various recipes. I would take you up on your offer, but alas I don't cook beef - but thank you.

    At one time, when I didn't know which Asian condiment to buy I would just lurk until some confident looking cook came up to buy the same thing. If she spoke English I'd get her recommendation. Don't know why I don't do that anymore. Not that that isn't perfectly subjective as well anyhow.

    I'll look for Mae Krua as well, sneezles. Glad for any and all reco's!
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  6. #6
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    I believe Lee Kum Kee was just rated as the best by CI -- sorry that was the hoisin sauce.

    They rated REAL oyster sauce as the best and I have been searching down the elusive Oyster Sauce made with real oysters as opposed to Oyster FLAVORED Sauce -- blazedog in search of the white whale of Asian condiments.
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  7. #7
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    I also use Lee Kum Kee, although unlike some other Asian ingredients it is not one I have a particularly strong opinion about.
    -Laura

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  8. #8
    In a recent Washington Post article, Kylie Kwong recommended Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Flavored Sauce.

    Ming Tsai uses Amoy or Lee Kum Kee (presumably the Premium).

    I think Nina Simonds uses Lee Kum Kee Premium, too. I seem to remember a TV appearance where she talked about the label on the bottle (with a mom and child in a boat) -- she called it the "negligent mother" brand because it looked like the boy was about to fall in the water and mom was oblivious.

  9. #9
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    I have a great classic recipe for Oyster Beef if you're interested.
    We eat beef! I am interested!!!!

    TIA!
    "I may be going to hell in a bucket, but at least I'm enjoying the ride"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by blazedog View Post
    ....
    They rated REAL oyster sauce as the best and I have been searching down the elusive Oyster Sauce made with real oysters as opposed to Oyster FLAVORED Sauce -- blazedog in search of the white whale of Asian condiments.
    That's kind of where my head was, blaze. It's called oyster sauce, but I didn't know if there was any out there actually made from oysters.
    One thing I wonder about with celebrity chefs recommending Lee Kum Kee or Amoy or such is whether they recommend them because they think they're the best or because you can find them in regular grocery stores? I.e., availability rather than quality? I have no idea. I've got no shortage of Asian grocery stores, so I'm open to all recommendations.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sneezles View Post
    I use Mae Krua
    This is the one we use as well.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beth Y View Post
    We eat beef! I am interested!!!!

    TIA!
    What she said!
    Sue

    Women are Angels
    And when someone breaks our wings, our spirit, or our hearts...
    We simply continue to fly.........
    on a broomstick...
    We are flexible like that ....

  13. #13
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    Here's a link to a post on a food blog I enjoy reading. Barbara cooks a lot of Asian foods, and her Chinese pantry suggestions may be helpful to you. She seems to recommend Amoy Oyster Sauce with Dried Scallop, but also used the Lee Kum Kee.

    Tigers & Strawberries
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  14. #14
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    Thanks, mrswaz, that was interesting! Glad to see I bought the right sesame oil, anyway! (Now maybe I can stop switching around on that one!)
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  15. #15
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    Oyster Beef Recipe

    For those of you asking for the Oyster Beef recipe, here it is. As for a little background, I've been making this since 1974 (ok, I'm aging myself so it's definitely a T&T). It comes from a fabulous, now out-of-print, Chinese cookbook called The Step-by-Step Chinese Cookbook by Georges Spunt (1973, Crowell Publishing). If anyone likes to cook Chinese, try to get a hold of a copy. The author grew up in Shanghai and learned to cook from his family's chef. The recipes are arranged by traditional Asian cooking techniques (stir-frying, braising, etc) and come from his experience. They're straightforward, simple and superb.
    Hope you all enjoy this yummy and quick recipe:

    Oyster Beef Slices
    Ingredients
    1 lb. flank steak, sirloin or filet, cut in 1/8 in. diagonal slices
    1 T. cornstarch
    1/2 t. salt (I usually omit this)
    1 t. brown sugar
    1 1/2 T. soy sauce
    1 T. sherry
    2 scallions, each with 1 1/2 in. of green, cut in 1 1/2 in. rounds
    2 T. oyster sauce
    2 T. peanut or veg. oil

    Before Cooking
    Prepare beef slices. Place in a soup plate and dredge with cornstarch, salt and sugar. Sprinkle with soy and sherry. Toss well with chopsticks to coat the slices evenly. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Slice scallions and set aside. Have oyster sauce and oil in separate dishes ready to go.

    Cooking Instructions
    Turn heat under skillet or wok to high. The heat remains high throughout the cooking. When the pan is hot, add the oil. It should sizzle at once.
    Before the oil begins to burn, add the beef slices, separating them so that all the pieces are touching part of the cooking surface. Give them a quick stir and stir-fry-toss for 1 minute. Add the scallions and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the oyster sauce. Stir well 1 minute to blend and remove from heat.

    My notes: I serve this with brown rice and stir-fried broccoli or bok-choy.
    Karen

  16. #16
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    Thanks, Karen. The Oyster Beef sounds delicious. I'm adding it to my menu for next week.
    Sue

    Women are Angels
    And when someone breaks our wings, our spirit, or our hearts...
    We simply continue to fly.........
    on a broomstick...
    We are flexible like that ....

  17. #17
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    Oyster Beef

    Hi Sue,
    My pleasure. Hope you enjoy it. Let me know how it goes.


    Karen

  18. #18
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    Well this is kinda interesting (I said "kinda" ):

    There was a reference to Lee Kum Kee brand "with the panda on the label" and I commented that mine is Lee Kum Kee but with a boat scene on the label. I was in the Asian supermarket this afternoon and saw the panda variety: the first ingredients are water, sugar, and salt, while the "negligent mother" variety lists oyster extractives, sugar, and water as the first three. Haven't done a side-by-side comparison, but it looks like the "boat" one would be preferable if both are on the shelf. FWIW.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  19. #19
    Canice, That is interesting. I've purchased both kinds but never bothered to look at the list of ingredients to see if there was a difference. I figured since it was the same brand, it would be the same. Now I'll know to buy the one with the 'negligant mother' on the bottle. Thanks for the info.

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