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Hoisin Sauce

Sweet, salty and spicy sauce used in Chinese cuisine

Hoisin sauce is a thick, brownish-red soy-based sauce that’s all at once sweet, savory, and spicy. Common in Chinese cooking, hoisin is used in almost endless ways; as a condiment or marinade, as a dipping sauce, to mix into stir-fries and noodle dishes, and more. Some of your favorite dishes likely start with hoisin sauce combined with other tasty ingredients.

There’s no “one” recipe for hoisin sauce, but the main ingredients are typically a base of fermented soy bean paste, sugar, garlic, vinegar, Chinese five spice, and chilis. Together (and alongside whichever other regional ingredients are added) you get a sauce that balances salt, spice, and sweetness. There’s also a redder version of hoisin sauce, colored with annatto seeds, is sometimes sold as “barbeque sauce” for roasting pork. And like we mentioned, hoisin sauce styles vary from region to region — if you were to do a hoisin sauce taste test with varieties from across China, you’d encounter many different flavors.

As you’d probably guess, you can find hoisin sauce in Uwajimaya’s sauce and condiment aisle.