Is duck sauce in Chinese restaurants ONLY a New England thing?
I know I am only one of many frustrated former New Englanders who have been puzzled why Chinese restaurants elsewhere do not have duck sauce. Not plum sauce, I mean that nice medium brown sweet chunky with ginger sauce that makes egg rolls sparkle.
I have found some very lame bottled variations in markets out west, but why do restaurants not have it available?
That particular variety must be - I was going to say that some of the (generally quite lousy) Chinese restaurants in Nashville have "duck sauce" on the table, but it's a sort of brown flavorless goo in plastic pouches (to go with the Chun King "soy sauce"). As my experience in Chinese restaurants is limited to the Midwest, Nashville, the SF Bay area, and now (O Bliss, O Joy!) the San Gabriel Valley, any full survey will require more participants, who will I'm sure show up pretty soon …
In northern VA, most seem to have the packets of goo, although orange in color w/ a few darker orange flecks. But they do work well mixed w/ soy sauce at a 6 to 1 ratio as a marinade for shrimp to be grilled.
They have it here in SoCal but I find it to be insipid and very sweet--would make nothing "sparkle."
Oh thank you kindly, ye of rolling steam powered music. That of which we speak is not some thick tube of jello like substance, but a fresh and nice dipping sauce for spare ribs, egg rolls, pot stickers, shrimp and the like.
I hope you are near a lake in NH, I have Nashua on my weather alert list and seems the heat is coming your way.
Really? Then why is it called "Duck Sauce" ??
I must say I wasn't sure what you folks were talking about. I vaguely remember seeing packets of brownish goo at times on the rare occasions I get C-A takeout or at so-called "Chinese" holes-in-the-wall. I admit I don't normally eat from these places so was puzzled by the query in the first place. (Yes, I'm Chinese and eat Cantonese/Szechuan/etc restaurant food not infrequently)
(p.s. I also lived for many years in the greater NYC area and can't say I consciously remember this concoction around there too, but then I would not usually eat in Chinese-American takeouts and similar places.)
Duck sauce is a condiment with a sweet and sour flavor and a translucent orange appearance similar to a thin jelly. Offered at Chinese-American restaurants, it is used as a dip for deep-fried dishes such as duck, chicken, fish, spring rolls, egg rolls, or with rice or noodles.........
40 and 50 years ago, fried crispy duck was a staple of Chinese-American restaurants here in the northeast. Nowadays, if you find duck on the menu it is either Wor Shu Opp in a brown sauce or Peking Duck. I miss the classic Cantonese Chinese-American cuisine of my youth
OK, thanks, it IS those little packets of orangeish goo tossed in with C-A take-out orders, then. (I should have looked it up first, mea culpa) Mentally, I visualize real plum sauce, or a brownish sweet/tangy [not actually sour] sauce etc if one talks about a dip for Peking Duck, roast chicken, spring rolls, etc.
re: Bob W
Lobster sauce is a sauce that IS different in Massachusetts and northern New England than that served in Southern Connecticut and NY. The sauce in Mass. is dark brown with loads of minced pork and lots of garlic. In southern CT and NY, lobster sauce is traditionally white with bits of egg white (as in egg drop soup). Years ago it contained minced pork, now it is seldom seen. Since the 80s, most of the takeout joints throw in frozen green peas. Absolutely dreadful.
One of my favorite Chinese dives on So. Broadwaay in Lawrence, MZ has a luncheon for $4.95. 2 Full fried chicken wings, pork fried rice and a bowl of the brown lobster sauce. heavn on earth, but need lots of breath mints before returning to work.
Here's a home cooking (not restaurant) recipe that produces an acceptable result
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 lb ground pork
2 cups sliced scallions
4 cubes instant chicken-flavored broth(Herb-Ox)
3 cups hot water
or 3 cups stock, may have to add salt
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
4 teaspoons soy sauce
6 teaspoons cornstarch
1Saute' meat and seasonings.
3Dissolve Herb-Ox in water and add to meat.
4Add sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauce.
5Mix corn starch with some of the liquid to thicken.
6 oz. Ground pork or ground beef
Ground garlic to taste
½ c. water
Salt to taste
1 t. molasses
1 t of oyster sauce
Cornstarch to thicken
Chopped green scallion for garnish
Use enough oil to cover the bottom of a wok or deep frying pan. Heat the oil and stir fry the meat with the garlic. Add the water and salt, then the molasses. Add enough cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Blend the egg into the sauce and continue stir frying until the egg is set. Top with the scallions and serve with rice or noodles. Serves 2-3.
I am a New Englander, born in and still live in Southern Connecticut, but west of the river, Yankees country. Ducksauce is a staple in Chinese-American restaurants both in New England and in New York City and suburbs. I've eaten in NY Chinese-American restaurants for more than 55 years an a bowl of Duck sauce and a bowl of crispy fried noodles is usually found on the table.
That said, most restaurants I encounter no longer make their own chunky variety, but use the smooth commercially available duck sauce. But every so often i encounter a throwback that still makes its own.
One of the reasons you don't find this as you travel the USA is that Chinese-American restaurants that were the standard in the northeast were Cantonese. The post 1970 explosion of Chinese food in the hinterland due to the change in immigration laws brought in Szechuan, Hunan, Fujian and other regional Chinese cuisine and workers who did not have this duck sauce tradition.
See other threads that have run on what Chow Mein is, and what we know in greater NY as chow maein is nothing like what is served in other areas.
Supermarkets in New England sell jarred duck sauce but it is much thicker and sweeter than what you'd find in a bowl on the table of a Chinese restaurant. A co-worker born in China, whose family has a restaurant here, told me the trick is to mix the jarred stuff with applesauce, thin it with a little water, and add a splash of vinegar.
I no longer buy the jar - I just mix honey mustard, applesauce, vinegar, water, and apricot or peach preserves, when I want something to accompany the Peking ravioli or shu mai that I buy frozen, sometimes adding a little soy sauce or pickled ginger...
This is a great forum. I am a big fan of New England style Chinese food. I have tasted Chinese food all over the country. You can find brown duck sauce in the northern surrounding areas of Boston and some in the city limits and most areas north threw parts of Southern New Hampshire.
But not in China Town in Boston they don't serve it.
I over tips a waiter to get the recipe.
Dark Soy Sauce (you can just add some molasses to regular soy it works well)
Duck Sauce (the orange thick type labeled duck sauce, I know crazy right)
I talked to one Chinese cook that added some crushed pineapple to the above ingredients but not necessary. Sorry I do not have the ratios but you get the Idea.
Good Luck All
PS Nothing better then dipping all those Cantonese apps in this Brown Liquid Gold.
Boneless Pork Strips
Imy family for years went to a restaurant in china town.in Boston It was called yee hong guey. They made their own duck sauce. As time past the sauce aged and became more and more fermented. It was wonderful. When I asked how they made it they used apple sauce vinegar sugar apricots and ginger. The older it got the lighter it got. Then there was also the sauce plum or duck that came from china in those tin cans that looked really old and beaten up. How I miss that stuff now I,ll have to make some ,you can't buy it.