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Concerns about hoisin? [moved from Ontario board]

I just had my new favourite lunch (the "protetin salad" from the sandwich shop in the new food court at Hydro Place). The woman preparing it told me the resto doesn't use hoisin, and alluded to something unhealthy about it.

Despite some prodding on my part, she wouldn't specify what exactly her concern was.

A quick Google search turned up nothing useful.

Anyone know what she might have had in mind?

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  1. I've never heard of anything, but perhaps they are concerned about allergies (soy and cross contamination with nuts). Did they have nuts or peanut sauces on their menu?

    1. I have seen a vegetarian hoisin in the supermarket. Maybe you should try that.

      1. Probably more "General Topics" oriented, but my aunt had always labelled hoisin and oyster sauce to be of dubious "cleanliness" and so partially tried to steer me away from it sometimes... It could partially be a Hong Kong mentality, I'm not certain.

        1. Funny but I don't get it, especially given the prevalence of both hoisin and oyster sauce in Cantonese cuisine.Both need to be fridged and both products have stale dates.Read the ingredients but I don't recall anything notoriously perishable in either sauce.Maybe I've just been lucky but then I don't use either in anything that's uncooked.

          1. Probably soy. There might even be a warning on the label of commercial brands that warns about soy ingredients.

            1. Since it was the "protein lunch," she was probably referring to the enormous amount of sugar/carbs in hoisin. Nothing to worry about unless you're low-carbing it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: piccola

                I agree with piccola. There is more sugar in hoisin, then you might think. Not good if your goal is low carb.

              2. If I recall, a few years back it was reported on the news that hoisin was somewhat carcinogenic. I haven't heard anything about that in a long time. I don't know how much truth is in it though, especially since the Chinese have been using it for a very long time...

                2 Replies
                1. re: justagthing

                  I remember that, too, and the 'scare' (such as it was) went so far as to name brands, too. I'm inclined to think there wasn't much to it, tho, because the story died fairly quickly.

                  1. re: ricepad

                    I've just accepted the fact that everything is either cancer causing or otherwise bad for you... there's a lot less anxiety that way.

                2. Webdude, was the restaurant you were eating in vegetarian? I've been noticing vegetarian hoisin sauce in stores lately, which leads me to wonder if there's not something non-vegetarian in hoisin sauce that is not listed in the ingredients.

                  1. I use it a lot. I'm still alive. Case closed (for me, at least).

                    1. Gosh! I also use it a lot. And I've never refrigerated it! Still alive here!

                      1. Thanks for your responses, all. Food for thought indeed.

                        To me, the carb explanation makes the most sense. However, what doesn't add up is that the server offered me bbq sauce instead - surely no better in carb terms. (Not that I'm watching my carbs - dog knows - I just really like this "salad," which is two nicely-grilled slabs of salmon fillet and a garden of delish veggies and fruits topped with a hard-boiled egg).

                        Not sure what could be "non-vegetarian" about hoisin. Isn't it mostly fermented soy beans?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Webdude

                          Labelling hoisin as vegetarian might just be a way for producers of kosher-certified hoisin sauce to indicate that the product is kosher without having to spell it out (all kosher-certified products have symbols that people who adhere to the laws of kashrut look for, but usually mean nothing to the general population).

                        2. Additional research - If you google "soy oyster carcinogen", you get a number of hits, including this one: http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdf...

                          Plenty of food for thought re: soy sauce and oyster sauce, but I couldn't find anything that implicates hoisin sauce as a carcinogen.