The 8 Best Oyster Sauce in 2020

Oyster sauce is made from cooking oysters and mixing this with sugar, salt, corn starch (to thicken it up) and water and is typically used in Vietnamese, Cantonese, Malay, Khmer and Thai traditional dishes. It is a versatile sauce that can be used in savoury pancakes, grilled with meats and vegetables, added to soup for flavour and even to noodles.

This sauce was invented by accident in the nineteenth century by a man who ran a tea stall where he would also cook the oyster sauce. He accidentally forgot about the oysters he was cooking one day and left it to simmer until he began to smell a strong aroma. What he found was the first version of oyster sauce which he began to sell to locals.

In this article, we will be going through some great oyster sauce options that are available on the market. Thanks to its savoury taste that works well with meat and vegetables, the oyster sauce has become a staple in many households around the world - not just in Asian countries. It is one of the easiest ways to incorporate and enjoy Asian flavours at home without breaking the bank or health. We hope that through this article you will find the best oyster sauce for you.

Best Pick

Meakrua - Original Thai Oyster Sauce

The best pick is the Maekrua Thai Oyster Sauce. This sauce is made from authentic oyster extract instead of artificial flavourings and has been awarded the Shell Shuan Shim award which is just as important as the Michelin Stars over in the US. With 10 calories per serving, 500mg of sodium and 2g of sugar, you can’t go wrong with the reliable bottle of oyster sauce.

Budget Pick

Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce

The best budget is the Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce which is great for adding a dark colour to all types of meals, is versatile and can be used for grilling, dipping and seasoning, and comes in a glass bottle which is not as harmful as plastic to the planet.

Quick Comparison: Top 8 Best Oyster Sauce

1. Meakrua - Original Thai Oyster Sauce 

The first item on our list is the Meakrua Original Thai Oyster Sauce. This oyster sauce is great to use as a staple seasoning in many types of dishes and is very versatile.

What makes this sauce unique compared to some other oyster sauces on the market the fact that it is made with genuine and authentic oyster extract rather than an artificial oyster flavour.

It is also made with water, sugar, soybeans, salt, wheat flour, corn starch and the preservative sodium benzoate. It has 10 calories per serving, 500mg of sodium and 2g of sugar. This product is great with all types of meat and fish and is ideal for Asian style stir-fry dishes. It has also been awarded the Shell Shuan Shim award which is just as important as the Michelin Stars over in the US.

Pros

  • Low in calories, sugar and sodium.
  • Was awarded the Shell Shuan Shim award.
  • Made from authentic oyster.

Cons

  • Includes corn starch and preservatives.
  • Is not gluten-free.
  • Must be refrigerated once opened.

2. Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce  

Next up is the Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce. This sauce is ideal not only for adding a savoury element to your meals but is also great for adding colour to your dishes too, thanks to its dark and thick nature.

This sauce has 25 calories, 4g of sugar and 820mg of sodium per serving. It is made from oyster extract, water, sugar, wheat flour, caramel color, modified corn starch and a flavour enhancer called monosodium glutamate.

Pros

  • Low in calories.
  • Offers an authentic and genuine oyster sauce flavour.
  • Great for adding colour to your meals.
  • Is versatile and can be used for dipping and grilling.

Cons

  • Can be considered high in sodium and sugar, especially in comparison to other oyster sauces on the market.
  • Is not gluten-free.
  • Includes flavour enhancers.

3. Wan Ja Shan Vegetarian Mushroom Oyster Sauce  

This vegetarian oyster sauce improves the taste of vegetables and tofu, especially with grilled and fried foods. It can also be eaten as a dipping sauce too.

It is made from soybeans, water, salt, wheat, starch, sodium benzoate and mushroom flavouring which is made from shiitake powder.

Each serving has 14 calories, 336mg of sodium and 2.2g of sugar, making it a guilt-free seasoning option for your meal.

Pros

  • Suitable for vegetarians.
  • Is especially low in sodium and also low in calories and sugar.
  • Has a unique mushroom flavour.

Cons

  • Ideal for mainly tofu and vegetables.
  • Not gluten-free.
  • Contains starch and preservatives.

4. Wok Mei Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce  

The next item on our list is the gluten-free oyster sauce by Woke Mei. Easy to use in both stir-frys and as a marinade, this sauce is great to add to meals for an authentic Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese taste.

This oyster sauce is made without the use of refined sugars, starches and MSGs. Instead, it is made with all-natural ingredients such as dried cane syrup, filtered water, salt, GMO-free corn starch, vinegar and oyster extract.

With 25 calories, 340mg of sodium and 5g of sugar, this isn’t the most unhealthy option out there. Be mindful of the sugar content in this, however.

Pros

  • Is gluten-free and dairy-free.
  • Does not include refined sugars, starches or MSGs.
  • Is suitable for both industrial uses or for home-cooked meals.
  • Comes in a glass jar which is great for the environment and easy to recycle.

Cons

  • Has 5g of sugar in each serving which is more than many other oyster sauce brands on the market
  • If you prefer a stronger, more pungent flavour, this oyster sauce may be too mild for you.

5. Dragonfly Premium Oyster Sauce  

This MSG-free product is ideal for Chinese meals that are cooked at home, especially stir-frys such as chow-mein. You can use this sauce as a dipping sauce or as a topping to some meaty dishes too.

Made from oyster extract, water, salt, sugar, corn starch, soybeans, wheat, and two different types of preservatives - sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate. 

This oyster sauce has 16 calories per serving, 590mg of sodium and 3g of sugar.

Pros

  • Is MSG-free.
  • Is thick so makes for a great marinade and dipping sauce.

Cons

  • Comes in a plastic bottle which may be bad for the planet.
  • Includes corn starch.
  • Is not gluten-free.
  • Includes preservatives.

6. VegeCyber Vegetarian Mushroom Oyster Sauce  

This thick and rich sauce is versatile and great for dipping, grilling and using as a seasoning in many types of savoury meals and soups.

It is made from using mushroom essence which gives it a unique and strong flavour. Water, wheat, soybeans, starch, mushroom flavour and extract and benzoic acid are also used to make this tasty oyster sauce.

Be mindful with this product, however, as there have been some issues with poor packaging in the past. You may find that the product is leaky. This product has around 710mg of sodium per serving, which when compared to other brands of oyster sauce is quite high. Be mindful of this especially if you are watching your salt intake.

Pros

  • Is suitable for vegetarians.
  • Uses mushroom extract which offers a unique and strong flavour.

Cons

  • Is not gluten-free.
  • Has 710mg of sodium.
  • The packaging may be flimsy and leaky.

7. Wok Mei Gluten-Free Sauces - Oyster, Plum and Hoisin by Black Tie Mercantile  

Though we have already recommended the Wok Mei Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce, you can also get it in a set with two other sauces; plum and hoisin.

This set is a great option if you like to experiment with different flavours and foods in the kitchen, especially if you enjoy Asian inspired cuisine.

These sauces are all-natural and free from MSG, refined sugar, preservatives, and modified starches - so you can experiment in the kitchen with the knowledge that you won’t be harming your health in the process.

Pros

  • Free from MSG, preservatives, refined sugars and modified starches.
  • Is all-natural
  • Great for experimenting within the kitchen.
  • Is gluten-free.
  • Comes in glass jars which are easy to recycle and reuse.

Cons

  • Flavours may be on the milder end if you prefer a more pungent taste.

8. Panda Oyster Sauce  

The last oyster sauce in our list is the Panda Oyster Sauce. This oyster sauce is gluten-free and non-GMO. It also claims to sustain your energy levels throughout the day once consumed.

Using only the finest ingredients such as high-quality oyster extract, sugar, salt, water, wheat flour, modified corn-starch and modified glutamate which is a flavour enhancer.

Each serving contains 25 calories, 4g of sugar and 850mg of sodium. It is high in sodium and sugar compared to other brands of oyster sauce on the market, so please be mindful of this.

Pros

  • Is gluten-free and non-GMO

Cons

  • Must be refrigerated after opening.
  • Contains modified corn-starch and monosodium glutamate.
  • High in sugar and salt compared to similar products.

Things to Consider Before Buying Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce was first invented around 1888 in China by accident. When Lee Kum Sheung forgot about the oysters he was cooking and then later came back to them, a sauce had formed at the bottom of the pan which he tastes and fell in love with. From then onwards, he began to sell his sauce to locals. Since then, it has become a staple in many houses around the world - especially in China, Vietnam and Thailand.

The sauce is great for using on both vegetables and meats, and due to its savoury (and surprisingly not fishy) flavour, makes for a great marinade, dipping sauce and general seasoning. Because of its thick liquidy texture, you can use oyster sauce in stir-frys, soups and a variety of other meals. You could even add it as a base to make your own sauce.

Oyster sauce is also great because it is very convenient to use. Whether you choose to use it straight from the bottle or would like to cook it in with other ingredients, it is definitely a convenient and versatile condiment to keep in your pantry. Be careful as once you open a bottle of the sauce, you will need to to keep it refrigerated to make sure it’s still good to eat.

If you enjoy cooking and love the flavours of Asian cuisine, one of the easiest ways to incorporate and introduce Eastern tastes is by using the oyster sauce.

Before setting out to buy your own oyster sauce, however, there are some things that you should consider. This will help you make sure you're buying a product that is not only delicious but mindful of your dietary and health needs too.

Here are some things to consider before buying a bottle of oyster sauce.

Ingredients

One of the first things you should consider before buying a bottle of oyster sauce is its ingredients. This will determine the flavour and nutritional benefits or disadvantages of the product.

Most oyster sauce is made from water, soybeans, sugar, salt, oyster extract and corn-starch. Though the ingredients may be simple, we wary of any artificial colours, flavours and preservatives that could be included.

Don't let this frighten you, though. Sometimes, preservatives could be a good thing as it ensures that your bottle of oyster sauce stays good to eat for a very long time. This could be a great option for you if you like to buy condiments in bulk. However, preservatives can be linked to certain health conditions such as asthma. If you are planning on using the oyster sauce for your family or you are conscious about your own health, this may be something to look into.

If you are interested in buying a particular brand of oyster sauce, check the ingredients list to see what the sauce includes. This will give you an indication of how many natural ingredients there is in the bottle, and how healthy it could be.

Flavour

The next important thing to consider is the flavour. You may think that all bottles of oyster sauce will have the same flavour, but this is not always the case.

Oyster sauce typically has a savoury and slightly salty taste that should not be fishy at all, contrary to the name. Oftentimes, it could be used as a replacement for salt in your meals.

Oyster sauce isn’t simply savoury and salty, however. It also has a slight sweetness to it and can have an earthy and deep aftertaste to it.

Think about how salty, sweet and rich you enjoy your flavours and use that to determine what kind of oyster sauce would be ideal in your pantry. It would also be a good idea to think about what kind of dishes you will most likely use the oyster sauce with and think about whether the flavours of oyster sauce will complement the dishes you will be making.

Color and Texture

Adding on from the flavour of oyster sauce, another area to consider is the colour and texture of the sauce. Oyster sauce should be a very dark brown color which is almost black.

In terms of the texture and thickness of the sauce, think about what you prefer. If you will be using the sauce to marinate meat and as a dipping sauce, perhaps a thicker oyster sauce will be better suited to you.

Though oyster sauce should normally be thick, to begin with, there are several brands on the market which offer a slightly diluted and thinner version. This has its benefits, and this could be used as a great seasoning on top of stir-frys or in soups. Think about which texture you enjoy more and go from there.

Dietary Requirements

The next important thing to consider before buying a bottle of oyster sauce is any dietary requirements you may have. The last thing you would want is for your health to be damaged in the process of eating some delicious food.

Whether you have allergies to soybeans, are gluten-free or eat a Kosher or Halal diet due to your religion, please take these things into consideration before purchasing a bottle of oyster sauce.

An easy way to figure out if a product is suitable for your dietary needs is by checking out the packaging and looking for labels that fit in with your needs. Or, you can go through the ingredients list and see if there are any components in the sauce that don’t work well with you.

Versatility

How versatile a condiment is can also determine whether or not you should choose that particular one over another brand. The flavour, texture, colour and nutritional value could determine how versatile oyster sauce can be.

Oyster sauce is known to work great as a marinade with fish and many kinds of meat. It can also work as a dipping sauce for dumplings and as a seasoning/or toppings for soups, noodles and savoury pancakes.

Some oyster sauces are more versatile than others depending on such factors. If you wish to use a single brand of oyster sauce for many different uses and types of meals, it’s best to go for a neutral oyster sauce that is not harmful to your health and which is not too thick so that it is malleable and easy to use.

Nutritional Value

Another important factor to consider when it comes to buying oyster sauce is its nutritional value. This is important as we should all be conscious of the food we are consuming and whether or not it impacts our health, either positively or negatively. If you like to go to the gym and count calories and macros, being mindful of the nutritional value of the food you consume will be very important.

Many oyster sauce brands roughly include the same ingredients but there are some slight variations depending on the brand. For example, some brands may use preservatives whereas another brand may not. Preservatives are great for when you want the longevity of your food to be long term and last a very long time - but certain preservatives can also lead to certain health issues if consumed too heavily.

Some oyster sauces include soybeans which are high in protein and offer a range of great vitamins and minerals. Likewise, if you do not suffer from celiac disease and are not gluten-free, the wheat that is used in many oyster sauce brands may offer some iron and further minerals and vitamins in your diet too.

Of course, typically you will not be using oyster sauce in large amounts and therefore you may not be getting much nutrition from a single serving of the sauce. Despite this, it is always great to know the nutritional value of anything you consume so that you can enjoy your food without feeling guilty and being happy with your choices.

Sodium Levels and Calories

After nutritional values come sodium and sugar levels and how many calories there are in oyster sauce. This all depends on how much oyster sauce you use of course, but be mindful that a serving is typically around a tablespoon for each meal.

With this being said, the daily recommended amount of sodium is around 1500mg per day, and for sugar, it is 37g for men and 25g for women. It may seem as though oyster sauce is very low in both of these things - which often it is - but that depends on how much you use. It is very easy to pour way more than the recommended serving size on your meals. If you don't measure out how much of the sauce you will be using, you may end up going overboard and consuming too much.

The same could be said for calories. Per serving, oyster sauce will have around 10 - 30 calories which are a very small amount and can leave you feeling at ease if you are watching your weight. Again, be mindful that you don't exceed the serving size as you could easily add many more calories to a meal without intending to.

Packaging

The last thing to consider is the packaging. This is not only important for your storage and to prevent any leaking from happening, but it is also great to be mindful for the environment and the planet.

As we know, plastic is the main cause of clogging oceans around the world and damaging wildlife in the sea. Plastic is not biodegradable which means that every plastic bottle will exist for hundreds of years and cause further damage to our planet.

Most bottles of oyster sauce are in fact plastic. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, however, as plastic bottles can be much more convenient than others. This is because plastic is sturdy and easy to use - and can be reused too.

Oyster sauce also comes in glass bottles and jars depending on the brand. This is much better for the environment, though you must take care not to drop it. Think about which packaging you would prefer in this context before buying your own bottle of oyster sauce.

Another point regarding packaging is how well the sauce is sealed in. We recommend looking through some reviews on a product before purchasing to find out if other people have had an issue with leaking, as the last thing you would want is for your perfect oyster sauce to go to waste.

Conclusion

Oyster sauce is a fantastic condiment that can add a splash of flavour to any dish that you cook. If you enjoy the taste of east Asian cuisines and would like to experiment with such flavours at home, simply buying a bottle of oyster sauce can easily enhance any dish you create. This also means that you could save money and won’t have to sacrifice your health as using oyster sauce could be an alternative to ordering Chinese food when you have that craving.

This article focuses on the different types of oyster sauce that is available on the market today. Oyster sauce can vary slightly from country to country - and though the premise of the sauce is the same, the flavours can vary slightly according to Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai sauce.

We hope that through this article we have taught you a few things to look out for before buying a bottle of oyster sauce and how they can be versatile and used in any kitchen. Consider the flavour, texture, nutritional values and versatility of the sauce before purchasing to ensure you get the best oyster sauce for you.

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