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Jun 10, 2010 06:22 AM

Can anyone tell me if May Lin China Inc. still makes Black Bean Hot Sauce

Hey There, I have been using a product by May Lin China Inc. called, "Black Bean Hot Sauce" out of San Francisco CA 94133. (This is the physical address on the 8oz. bottle). I have googled this company/address, shopped online to no avail. I have been rationing my last bottle for a couple years knowing I may have come to the end of my dog run. This is for my own personal consumption and I have no access to Wholesale Distribution (even though I would buy a case if available) in the Portland, Oregon area so if any of you Purebred Hounds know the where a bouts of said condiment, I just may find a way out of the Dog House of discontent. My quest really began yesterday when someone googled the name of the condiment on the internet and the first search that came up was a review I did on in '07... casually looking for it. It is in Amazon's database but comes up unavailable. So, now I have people facebooking me to save their bacon as well. I am at the mercy of K9 Patrol here I realize. Whoof!
Seriously, I would be very appreciative if anyone has any information regarding this product. Sincerely,
Casey Pons

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  1. may lin china sold their chili sauce line to heavenly chef a while ago. not sure if the black bean hot sauce line went with it. believed marathon packing (san leandro) packs the heavenly chef brand. also don't know if marathon and/or heavenely chef packs the black bean hot sauce.

    hope this helps.

    15 Replies
    1. re: shanghaikid

      This is just the news I am looking for to, not waste anymore time tracking down a deceased hound. I will check out both marathon and/or heavenly chef for the "lost in transaction" Black Bean Hot Sauce. Are you familiar with May Lin BBHS? That is (was) some good stuff! I can't imagine selling the line to another manufacturer and not continuing to make this classic treat. I will remain optimistic. This is some kinda insider info you have offered up, I am so appreciative of your time and consideration, Kid-Sir!

        1. re: elliora

          right brand name, but wrong product.
          vietnamese garlic sauce is a lot more popular than black bean sauce, a very esoteric and an acquired taste. maybe heavenly gave up on it.

          1. re: shanghaikid

            scroll down on that page and there is a black bean hot sauce

        2. re: caseypons

          the owner's name is nelson lee, he used to own a chinese eatery on broadway, s.f. (where the thai is now) and later a place in burlingame. all the time, he made chile sauce on the side. he sold the biz to focus on growing chiles in the valleys, stockton, fresno, i forget.

          1. re: shanghaikid

            The owners name of Marathon or Heavenly Chef is Nelson Lee???
            Or...are they one... and the same organization.
            We ARE getting somewhere my friends... and I am appreciative of your insider trading info. Just don't short sell before the stock tops out!

            1. re: caseypons

              nelson lee is with may lin.
              marathon packing is the company nelson lee sold his company (may lin) to.

              "heavenly chef" is marathon's brand name
              "may lin china" is may lin's brand name (nelson lee)
              forgot the owners name of marathon packing. could have been lee also...

          2. re: caseypons

            From the looks of the May Lin jar, the closet thing that comes to mind is the BBHS made by Yang Sing. Have you tried that before? It is very good, black beans with bits of shallots and bits some other kinds of preserved vegetables. 99 Ranch has them.

            1. re: BillSF

              The research I have done since the Kid offered up his options trace down to what you have referenced. I have an email into Marathon Packing as we speak. 99 Ranch is a foreign commodity to this NW pooch. Are they a local (to the bay) organization...retail, wholesale???
              I will inquire!!! Thanks for your assistance.

              1. re: caseypons


                99 Ranch is an Asian supermaket chain here in the SF Bay Area. They also have stores in Southern Cal. The BBHS that I referred to is actually closer to what is called an XO sauce. Here is a link that talks about it


                Also, here is the link to buy the sauce online in case you can't find it in your neck of the woods.


                1. re: BillSF

                  99 ranch started in socal. it's stock is traded on the nyse. the initial investors were taiwanese.

                  rumor is it's linked to one of the major political parties in taiwan.

              2. re: BillSF

                And.... No I have not tried this particular Sauce! But my hunch is, that unless Nelson Lee has been making his own version of BBHS and believes it superior to the May Lin brand they purchased....Then just possibly....and only possibly we have hit the Motherload here... Ladies & Gentlemen! This is primo investigative journalism at it's finest. And I think you all need to compile your efforts and plug that Damn Hole in Nolin's before we have no more Gulf Seafood to put this sauce on/in/and or around. Can I get a witness???

                1. re: caseypons

                  I visited both links. I have an email into Yanksing inquiring about local availability/distribution in Portland. I am about to research 99Ranch, sounds like a great find. This is a great education. Really appreciate your assistance.

            2. re: shanghaikid

              I hope you come back to this post to read this, as I wanted to tell you thanks for all your right-on advise about Nelson Lee and his May Linn BBHS. I tracked down Marathon Packing who only deals in Pallet Sale minimums, but he set me up with The Good Stuff Distributors and I just placed an order for my first case. This has been a labor of love looking for this sauce and without your knowledge of the discontinuing and selling sauce recipes to Marathon I would be SOL my friend. Thanks again for your expertise and time.

            3. I see other hounds have already provided you with the correct manufacturer. I just purchased a bottle of the Yangcheng Black Bean Hot Sauce today at Berkeley Bowl West, and I am 90% sure that 99 Ranch carries this line as well, though I can't recall this product specifically.

              I would think Uwajimaya in Beaverton or any Vietnamese market would be good possibilities if you don't have any Chinese or Taiwanese oriented markets. Here's a link

              1. Reading through this post, I see you guys did a great job tracking down this sauce. I have seen people spend less effort tracking down their cat.

                Casey Pons. I have never tried the May Lin back bean hot sauce or Yang Sing. Nevertheless, I am curious if you think you have find the exact same product. If not, is the Yang Sing superior or inferior. Let us know. What an interesting story here.

                13 Replies
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  The product through Marathon Packing seems to be very close even the labeling is similar....
                  However the ingredients are missing Orange Peel which May Lin BBHS had, and that was a notable ingredient...not too much just enough to give it a very slight tone of citrus. For those who haven't or should I say hadn't tried it, Unique, is the word that comes to mind.
                  By the way if you see my cat, could you point him in the direction of Portland...Not Maine, Oregon!

                  1. re: caseypons

                    Hi, Casey, the ingredient list on the bottle I bought last week does include orange peel.: oil, black bean, radish, chili, garlic, sugar, cooking wine, salt, msg, ORANGE PEEL, sodium benzoate, spices.

                    1. re: twocents

                      AHhhhhhh Orange Peel!!!!! You just made my day. I called Berkeley Bowl West , they carry the product but they have no shipping accommodations. I live in Orygone!
                      I think I have found a distributor in the Bay Area who will ship cases to me. Did you ever try the May Lin BBHS? I was curious as to your comparison of the two products if you had.
                      Thanks for your personal assistance, Sir!

                      1. re: caseypons

                        I just received shipment of two cases yesterday of the Heavenly Chef Yangcheng Black Bean Hot Sauce and I can tell you as I compared the original to the current brand and I actually prefer the new over the old. The new has just a hint more fermented black bean. You would have to taste them side by side as I to differentiate.
                        So, in summary my Jones-ing for da' kind has seized and the cold sweats, the tossing and turning in bed, the restless leg twitches at night, having to peer through the blinds 24/7... are all history.

                        Lovin All You Hounds of Distinction,


                        1. re: caseypons

                          I did not have the chance to sample the other version; I mainly bought it having noticed your thread here, and I do use prepared black bean sauce in my cooking. I enjoyed this sauce as a milder alternative to a more conventional garlic black bean sauce. Milder meaning not as intense on the salt and black bean. I do appreciate the chili and orange peel. I often sautee sliced asparagus with some black bean chili sauce, and this performed well in that role.

                          1. re: twocents

                            Two Cents,
                            As referenced the two are so similar, and after a couple weeks of tasting the Heavenly Chef Brand I can say I love this new product and everybody should run out and try some on something, anything. If you like that acquired taste of fermented Black bean with a touch of heat and just a hint of citrus to awaken your palette you should enjoy it. Thanks again all for your support to a story with a happy ending!

                            1. re: caseypons

                              Hey Casey,

                              I Love this sauce. Lived on it with veggies and everything else, for years.Originally discovered it at the old Dim Sum that is now called Asia Garden in Chinatown, SF.It became a part of my diet. Later Found it when I lived in Hawaii, after I originally discovered it in San Francisco...

                              There is a Chinese Bufffet in the Northern California Coastal area that makes their own, with equal succeess - tastewise.

                              Amazing Stuff.. I came here for sources to get the Black Bean "Suace" (as one lot of it was spelled on the label, years ago).

                              Do you eat the "Solids" of the sauce - as I do primarily..? I avoid the oil part..


                              1. re: icysurfer

                                Dear Surfer of Icyness; I would have to say that (all) patrons are on the bus when it pulls into the station. Nothing goes to waste here on this field trip. I just stir it really well so the oil becomes a part of the tour. Then when the bottle is empty I have good reason for saving my old tooth-brushes, as my cat, Hio looks forward to his daily brushing with the Colgate after-tones. Although, I have yet to find it locally, here in Portland, and am still purchasing it by the case at the local distributor in the bay area, and justify the bulk amounts by simply declaring (some) of them as stocking stuffer' s for the Holidays. Some recipients like to adorn a small amount to their candy-canes. Personally, I still like Vanilla ice-cream as a dessert companion, to top. "Yummer's," as the 30min Queen would exclaim. Thanks for sharing, your Icyness.

                                1. re: caseypons

                                  I just spent an hour going in and out of about a dozen grocery stores is Oakland Chinatown looking for May Lin China Black Bean Sauce, and when I couldn't find it anywhere I googled it and found this. I bought 4 other sauces, and just did a taste test with the last of my May Lin China jar. The Yang Cheng is by far the closest and the best. But for those of you who don't want to cook with msg, her e is what I found to be the 2nd best: Chili Black Bean made by Master Sauce Co. It doen't have orange peel, and does have sesame oil - so it's not an exact match. But I'm cooking for a crowd that eats mostly organic and msg would not be appreciated. Maybe I'll try to add a bit of orange zest on my own.

                                    1. re: caseypons


                                      belated reply since i just came across this thread again.
                                      see comment above.

                                      heavenly chef branded sauces has changed slightly the may lin formula. this is true of the hunan chili sauce.(saltier, more vinegar, water)

                                      since i seldom use the black bean version. i'm guessing
                                      the may lin version may not be accurately replicated in the heavenly chef version.

                                    2. re: LindaE

                                      linda e:

                                      may lin china sold their label to marathon packing a while ago. marathon packs under the "heavenly chef" label.

                                      1. re: shanghaikid

                                        @shanghaikid; Thanks for all your help. I am working on my 2nd case since this thread began. But, I still keep my old, May Lin Brand, "Black Bean Hot Sauce" empty bottle for good luck, just in case. I feel a "teaspoon" coming on right this instant, as a matter of fact.

                    2. Just learn to cook with packaged fermented black beans. I get them from 99 Ranch but suspect just about any authentic Chinese market would carry them. They cost about two dollars a point and go a long ways.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LADave

                        LADave, I have a pot on the stove as we speak, and I will add Heavenly Chef, "Black Bean Hot Sauce," to them as a condiment. ;~}}}

                      2. I picked up a jar of the Heavenly Chef brand and compared just the ingredients, and I would say they're similar, but definitely different. Too bad the Heavenly Chef brand uses MSG.

                        May Lin Black Bean Hot Sauce Ingredients:
                        Pepper, Cottonseed Oil, Salted Black Beans, Salted Mustard, Preserved Radish, Soy Sauce, Sugar, Garlic & Onion Powder, Orange Peel, Preserved w/ 1/10 of 1% Sodium Benzoate.

                        Heavenly Chef Yang Cheng Black Bean Hot Sauce
                        Vegetable Oil, Black Bean, Radish, Chili, Garlic, Sugar, Cooking Wine, Salt, MSG, Soy Sauce, Orange Peel, 1/10 of 1% Sodium Benzoate

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: spinn1

                          @Spinn1: And I thought I was the only one in the world with an (empty) bottle of May Lin, BBHS.
                          I keep my old bottle around as something of a keep-sake, now that it is no longer available.
                          I never was able to do a (A-B) comparison between the two, but I agree with you they are similar, but not identical as I remember.
                          So, do you actually have some May Lin BBHS holed up somewhere and you just like to see grown men and women weep, at the mere mention of the words, by name. Or, are you going by recollection, as well. I hope it's the latter, because the walls have eye's, my friend. Ha!

                          1. re: caseypons

                            @casepons - I actually have 1/3 a jar at work, and maybe 1/6 a jar left at home. My mom also has a little bit left as well. It's liquid gold.