HOME > Chowhound > B.C. (inc. Vancouver) >


dim sum chili sauce

i am from vancouver but currently living in central america, all the dim sum here is served with soy sauce and chili oil. my question is what is the great red chili paste/sauce we are all used to at the awesome dim sum restaurants in vancouver...(sun sui wah, imperial etc...) i have some chinese markets here that i could possibly find it at but there is so many different ones they have and the few i have bought and taken home tasted nothing like what im looking for. brand names would be great, thanx

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: 23skidoo

      If it is the sour, seedless, terracotta coloured chili sauce usually mated with Chinese Mustard, then it is often just called "Chili Sauce". I thought I had some in the kitchen...I would have posted a photo. I did a bit of a Google: Lee Kum Kee calls it "Fine Chili Sauce", I believe (though I'm not entirely sure if it is the same stuff that I usually get.)

      I'll post a photo of the one brand that I usually buy next time I stock up. I don't recall the name.

      1. re: fmed

        do you mean siracha? clear bottle... green top,, rooster on the bottle, super tasty?

        1. re: retroville

          No it's not sriracha...it looks seedless (though I think the seeds are just ground right into it). It looks like this: http://picasaweb.google.ca/ben.and.su...

          I believe it is made using ground dried chilies, vinegar, salt.

          (Funny how difficult it is to find the pictures of right stuff online)

          1. re: retroville

            You are correct. Siracha, though Thai in origin, is the hot sauce typically used at dim sum restuarants.
            The one you refer to (green spout) is therone I see most, though there are others with taste variances.

            1. re: Scary Bill

              Not knowing which exact sauce the OP was talking about, I would venture that it isn't sriracha. I notice that sriracha is used often at dim sum in many cities, but here in Vancouver, the chili sauce most often used (and the one used to accompany the hot mustard) is (usually) definitely not sriracha....it is that terracotta red chili sauce instead. The green topped sriracha is pretty close, though.

              IIRC Sun Sui Wah, Imperial, do not use sriracha...maybe the OP can chime in to further describe the sauce.

              1. re: fmed

                Maggi's sweet chili sauce may fit this description too.

      2. I think I know which one OP is looking for. It's definitely NOT sriracha sauce... Sriracha sauce is most commonly found in vietnamese restaurants, and is a much brighter, more vibrant red than the sauce in chinese restaurants.

        I can't remember if I asked someone at one of the restaurants, or just happened to see it in the back, but it's made by Koon Chun and comes in jerry can shaped gallon sized jug... not sure if they make it in consumer sizes.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Strider

          Bingo! Thanks Strider...that's the brand. They sell it in small jars here in Vancouver (and probably there where the OP lives)...http://www.koonchun.com.hk/product_ch...

          1. re: Strider

            Thanks Strider! This is awesome. I've been trying to figure out what kind of hot sauce that is as well and gave up because I got sick of everyone saying that it's sriracha. I used to just ask for a take home container every time I went for dim sum. I wonder if they carry it at T&T?

            1. re: kmdavey

              kmdavey, are you in Vancouver? If yes, try Sunrise Market -- they definitely have it, in the "back room" (east part of the store, down near the end of the first aisle) -- see my April 6/09 post below.

          2. In most of Edmonton Dim Sum restaurants they automatically bring you tea and a chili paste sauce which I understand is called "La Chu Jus" ( phonetic spelling) . This sauce goes well with steamed seafood dumplings (Har Gao, Dao Miu Gao, etc.) . When I want the chili oil I ask for "La Chu Yao", a sauce which I prefer, specially with steamed buns ( Kai pao). I don't know if my spelling or pronunciation is 100% correct but I do get the corresponding sauces with a smile.

            1. no definetly not siracha.....the texture and look is almost identical though.....

              1. koon chun, looks like we have a winner.....im gonna go to my market tommorow and see if they have it ..........thanks guys

                6 Replies
                1. re: busterbrown

                  I remember *forcing* a wait person at a Chinese resto to bring the giant tin of Koon Chun out to our table so I could eye the label and write down the name. I then bought some at a grocer in Chinatown -- just a small bottle, not the huge tin :-).

                  1. re: grayelf

                    That label is so recognizable - yet I can never remember the name.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      haha that sounds like something i would do.......

                      1. re: grayelf

                        En passant, Koon Chun also do a really decent hoisin sauce...

                        1. re: grayelf

                          So popular that there are counterfeits:
                          "KOON CHUN Won A Million Dollar Court Case Against the Counterfeit at US District Court in San Francisco on May 7, 2007.
                          According to the Court document, Hong Kong based, a well-known Chinese Sauce manufacturer, Koon Chun Soy & Sauce Factory Ltd, best known as its product Koon Chun Hoisin Sauce, won a million dollar court case against the counterfeit.
                          The case has been last for 4 years. KOON CHUN accused both L.A. Victory and America Food International had imported and sold 11 containers of counterfeit KOON CHUN Hoisin Sauce in US since 2003.
                          In result of the persistence of KOON CHUN and the evidences collected, the US District in San Francisco finally grant KOON CHUN have the case with 1 million dollar compensation plus other expenses of the law suit. Mr. Raymond Chan, Koon Chun's representative in U.S. announced the court judgement and presented the case to the media in a Press Release on May 10, 2007."

                          1. re: felix the hound

                            Great trivia, felix! I really do like that hoisin, though not enough to break the law for it :-).

                    2. having a tough time finding their chili sauce......i have found the brand at many of my asian markets and all different sauces ....everything but the chili one. looking on the internet actually is kinda the same as the chili one seems to be the toughest to find, strange.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: busterbrown

                        I will keep an eye peeled and let you know if I find it and where -- I think I mentioned the last time I got it was actually in Victoria's Chinatown. It really is a must -- just back from SF where we had some great "old school" dimsum but really missed the Koon Chun, which just doesn't seem to be around.

                        1. re: grayelf

                          that would be great as i have lots of people that can grab it for me in Vancouver, matter of fact some are coming to visit in may and could bring me a bottle or two. i know what you mean about it just not being the same without it. thanx greyelf.

                          1. re: busterbrown

                            Okay busterbrown here you go: get your Koon Chun chili sauce at Sunrise Market, corner of Powell and Gore. If you send an away team, be sure to warn them about the neighbourhood and then tell them I found it in the easternmost part of the store (it is divided into two areas). Here is bad, sideways photographic proof of its existence, and it can be yours for a mere $2.39.

                            Sunrise Markets
                            300 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A, CA

                            1. re: grayelf

                              thanks so much grayelf i will be sending someone there for sure, really really appreciate it you have just made my dim sum outings complete

                              1. re: grayelf

                                I am sooo getting some of that! Thanks Grayelf!

                                1. re: starlady

                                  You're welcome -- and if you go yourself, leave some extra time for exploring Sunrise. I'd forgotten how many cool items they carry, and at ridiculously low prices.

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    OMG!! Thank God for Google and thank God for you, I've been going nuts trying to find the name of this sauce. Like the OP I've relocated to a different part of the world and married someone who owns a Cantonese restaurant. I've been trying to find this sauce so I can buy it for the restaurant, dim sum just doesn't taste the same without it. Thank you so much.

                                    P.S. I had to sign up for an account just to say thank you. :)

                        2. I too am a huge fan of Koon Chun Chili Sauce for my dim sum. I buy all my dim sum products at a wonderful Asian food store and cook it at home for my husband and I. The problem I have is that the hot sauce is a little too hot and a little too thick. Anyone know how to dilute the sauce so it looks and tastes a little more like it does in the restaurant?

                          1. I still cant find it, i can find almost all their products online and in a chinese market here but the chili sauce i have yet to find.