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Favorite Asian Sauce Disappearance & Strange Grocery Mystery

subwaytoken Dec 12, 2011 01:28 PM

My favorite asian sauce/condiment has disappeared from my local asian market (Tan Tin Hung Supermarket 121 Bowery, NYC). They stopped stocking it, and when ever I ask about it they look at me like I'm crazy and have no clue what I'm talking about, maybe because I don't know the name/company info of the sauce.

Anyway, it was always stocked next to the Huy Fong products because the packaging was identical (see photo) except the color of the sauce was a dark dark brown with a drawing of a horse or maybe a unicorn instead of a chicken.

Anybody know the name of the sauce? I would like to order it online or buy here in NYC.

  1. u
    UTgal Dec 12, 2011 01:36 PM

    Sriracha! My dh puts that on everything. That's odd they stopped stocking it. Our Asian section at Kroger carries it. Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: UTgal
      ttoommyy Dec 12, 2011 02:11 PM

      The picture the OP supplied is just for reference. The OP states "except the color of the sauce was a dark dark brown with a drawing of a horse or maybe a unicorn instead of a chicken."

    2. w
      weegeebee Dec 12, 2011 01:43 PM

      don't think that's sriracha. That looks like Sambal (might say "Chili/Garlic Sauce") on label as well.

      Sriracha has similar packaging--red coming through see through bottle with green top, but sriracha is more of a squeeze bottle type sauce, essentially being blended into a ketchup type consistency.

      1 Reply
      1. re: weegeebee
        nofunlatte Dec 12, 2011 01:55 PM

        The OP mentions that the sauce was brown, but the container design was similar to the photo.

      2. u
        UTgal Dec 12, 2011 02:13 PM

        Oh, my bad. I read it as they stuff the store has *now* is dark brown, not red like they were used to.

        1. c
          caviar_and_chitlins Dec 12, 2011 03:09 PM

          Can you tell us more about the stuff you are seeking? Is it sweet , salty, savory or hot? Is it thick or thin? What do you use it for?

          3 Replies
          1. re: caviar_and_chitlins
            subwaytoken Dec 12, 2011 03:49 PM

            Hello everyone and thanks for chiming in on this.

            The sauce was a condiment like the ones pictured (not really for cooking). It had a very unusual flavor that I didn't like it the first time I tasted it: a savory, very smoky, salty, not sour or sweet, nor hot but somewhat oily.......when I opened a new container there was always a 1/4" of oil on top, that eventually would mix into the sauce which if memory serves would go black after a time when the oil would dry in the jar........., it was kind of like chili black bean, but no beans or chilies and the sauce was an thick oily paste. I used it on everything, I loved it.

            My guess is the company that made it was trying to cash in on Huy Fong's success by copying their packaging, similar top, clear plastic jar, drawing of animal.

            After going to every store in China Town I called Huy Fong in L.A. thinking it was their sauce, but sadly, they didn't know what I was talking about (see crazy man above) as they only have "red sauces" with their chicken logo.

            1. re: subwaytoken
              subwaytoken Dec 12, 2011 04:03 PM

              BTW the company logo/horse drawing looked something like this:

              1. re: subwaytoken
                FattyDumplin Dec 13, 2011 05:59 AM

                that totally sounds like chinese satay sauce that you use for hotpot.

                the brand my wife's family insists on is a silver can and on the lower right of the label is a cartoon face wearing a chef's hat sticking his thumb up. Has red chinese lettering and only english worlds are "Barbegue Sauce"

            2. letsindulge Dec 12, 2011 04:32 PM

              No horse but could it be this? I haven't had to buy it recently but I had noticed that it wasn't readily available at the larger Asian markets as you mentioned. I believe that I last purchased it at The New Wing Yuan Market in Sunnyvale, CA. I used it mainly when making peanut sauce for satay, or Panang curry.

              1 Reply
              1. re: letsindulge
                subwaytoken Dec 12, 2011 05:07 PM

                Boy, that looks close to my mystery sauce...same sauce color and packaging but no horse..I can't seem to find your brand online, but I'll have a look in my local shops for other brands of "Satay Chili Paste"...funny I'm not a big fan of Satay or at least the stuff I've had was just too peanuty, but if this is the sauce I'm looking for, I love it! (minus the peanuts:)......thanks for the photos!

              2. e
                Evilbanana11 Dec 12, 2011 07:23 PM

                Yeah I think the sauce you are referring to is Satay. I used to buy in the same packaging you described here in Montreal but 3-4 years ago they stopped producing it. Never bothered to ask why as there are many substitutes in most Asian grocery stores.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Evilbanana11
                  Sam Salmon Dec 13, 2011 05:49 PM

                  Just pulled a bottle of Tia Chieu Sa-te out of the fridge and it fits-brownish sauce w/Unicorn and a light blue screw on cap.

                  It was available here in Vancouver about 3 years ago-it's made in and imported from Vietnam-this is NOT the Huy Fong California made product..

                  1. re: Sam Salmon
                    subwaytoken Dec 13, 2011 06:10 PM

                    I think this is the sauce I was looking for, and its available in NJ (hopefully mail order) I'll order some tomorrow! Thanks Everyone and Sam for your 3 year old Tia Chieu Sa-te !

                    1. re: Sam Salmon
                      FattyDumplin Dec 13, 2011 09:59 PM

                      fascinating. what is this sauce? is it like the traditional chinese satay / bbq sauce used for hotpots? or something altogether?

                      1. re: FattyDumplin
                        Cheeryvisage Dec 14, 2011 05:21 AM

                        It's a satay sauce.

                        1. re: FattyDumplin
                          subwaytoken Dec 14, 2011 07:19 AM

                          I myself used it as a condiment....

                          1. re: FattyDumplin
                            Evilbanana11 Dec 17, 2011 06:35 AM

                            Yeah I used it for Hotpots.

                      2. porker Dec 13, 2011 06:39 PM

                        I have good news and I have bad news and I have good news.....
                        good news is that I know EXACTLY what you're talking about it's called Tia Chieu Sa-te.

                        Bad news...apparently they haven't made it in quite awhile. Maybe take a look here


                        where jacofwits says
                        "Unfortunately Huy Fong hasn't made their Pepper Sa-Te sauce or oil in 10 years. They said it was too difficult or too much trouble. But after 10 years of searching I found the bottle you have. It's not Huy Fong Brand, but Tia Chieu Sa-Te made by Vi Hao Food Co.. Huy Fong has the Roster symbol and green caps or lids. The Vi Hao symbol is a unicorn in profile, with a blue lid. Strangely enough after visiting many, many Asian groceries big and small, I found it in Easton, PA when visiting my aunt! Can be found it at Viet Hoa Oriental Grocery Store is at 427 Northampton Street, Easton, PA 18042, 610-515-9935. Don't know if they ship, but can’t hurt to ask. One of my bottle I carried back from Easton did leak. I would suggest double zip lock bagging these, or any sauce or oil that has to travel."

                        good news, MAYBE Vi Hao Food Co makes an available facsimile....

                        That post is from 2009, BTW.

                        If you find any, let me know!


                        6 Replies
                        1. re: porker
                          subwaytoken Dec 14, 2011 07:16 AM

                          I called the place in NJ and the unicorn brand (Tia Chieu Sa-Te made by Vi Hao Food Co) has been discounted. They suggested I try a market in NYC (Tan Tin Hung Supermarket 121 Bowery, NYC, see crazy man above) and look for the chicken (Huy Fong) brand which is discounted also according to this thread.

                          I guess this sauce is not very popular (sigh).

                          Sam, how much for your 3 year old sauce? just kidding...I guess I will look in my local markets for a Vietnamese (not sweet) Sa-Te sauce...does anybody know of any or anything similar to the elusive unicorn sauce?

                          1. re: subwaytoken
                            seamunky Dec 14, 2011 12:54 PM

                            I haven't tried this recipe but this might be of interest to you:


                            1. re: subwaytoken
                              PegS Dec 16, 2011 04:48 PM

                              I would totally suggest you also try picking up some of the Chinese satay "sha cha" sauce FattyDumplin has referred to. It might end up being close to what you're looking for. It tastes nothing like the peanuty sauce used for those skewers of satay meat. Here's a pic of the kind that I use and FattyD's wife seems to use as well.

                              1. re: PegS
                                FattyDumplin Dec 16, 2011 09:39 PM

                                haha. actually, you are absoultely correct. bull head is the brand my wife's family insists on. the one we have now is an "imposter"!

                              2. re: subwaytoken
                                gingershelley Dec 17, 2011 07:41 AM

                                Subwaytoken - do you mean discontinued, not discounted? Or are they out of the sauce because it was on sale?

                                1. re: gingershelley
                                  subwaytoken Dec 17, 2011 11:16 AM

                                  Hi Ginger,

                                  The sauce is discontinued, according to the NJ importer due to lack of sales:(

                            2. JMF Dec 17, 2011 08:48 AM


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