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Oyster Sauce. Does Brand Matter?

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I went to my local Asian megamart and was flummoxed by the selection of oyster sauces. Does brand matter when it comes to oyster sauce or are they all pretty much the same? Also, I saw Lee Kum Kee sells regular oyster sauce and premium oyster sauce. Is the premium version any better or different than the regular variety?

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  1. pay attention to oyster extract content. some contain very little, some are flavoured. i like LKK.

    1. There was a discussion of oyster sauce brand preferences last year that is Manhattan-centric in terms of shopping, but had good info on the brands.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/597359

      1. Premium is made from oysters. Oyster flavored is not.
        Depends on how you're using it.
        If you're using it to flavor something like chow mein then there's no need to use the "premium" stuff.

        1. In 2001, Cook's Illustrated performed a taste test on oyster sauces and recommended Lee Kum Kee's Premium Oyster Flavored Sauce. It also seems to be highly rated on Amazon.

          1. Yes. Brand does matter, to me anyway. Lee Kum Kee is a very good solid standard, if not "the gold standard". However, Lee Kum Kee has several lines and you want a high oyster extract content, as Pata Negra stated. I believe the LKK premium oyster sauce is the original oyster sauce. The rest are lower-tier versions. I am not sure what is the "regular" oyster sauce, but don't get the LKK Panda version.

            There is another Cantonese-brand which I really like, but I don't know its English name. It tastes great and it is all natural ingredients.

            Just to keep you interested, oyster sauce is accidentially invented by Lee Kum Sheung (李錦裳), who later found the company Lee Kum Kee. The whole company Lee Kum Kee started with one product -- oyster sauce.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I use only LKK for the reason you mentioned. LKK is created to make oysters sauce.

            2. Can't go wrong with Lee Kum Kee. But like others have said there are many varieties of oyster sauce from Lee Kum Kee. Regardless of what brand you buy, pay attention to the content. You want actual oyster extract, not flavored stuff.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Unless you have shellfish allergy.

              2. Has anyone tried Vegetarian oyster sauce? How was it?

                I believe mushrooms are used in place of oysters to get that umami-ness in the vegetarian version.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dave_c

                  i just grabbed a bottle off the store shelf on sale. turned out to be some thai oyster sauce. had a very strong fish sauce taste nothing like my regular brand Lee kum kee.