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Oct 20, 2013 11:37 AM

Lobster sauce

When I was a kid in 1950's Boston the restaurants were known by their address - as in 25 Tyler St. The food was wonderful and I have never found anything like it elsewhere. Particularly a dish called lobster sauce which was rich and dark and I think laced with fermented dark beans and ground pork. No lobster. Lobster sauce in NY and Philly restaurants is white and not particularly good. I remember reading somewhere that the original Chinese community in Boston came from a particular island. Can anyone enlighten me re this, or provide a recipe for the lobster sauce?

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  1. i have had dark lobster sauce growing up in Chicago which is a sauce that is put on lobster and not a sauce made of lobster. I cannot give you a recipe; you can go to yummly or just google it and find something that is called lobster sauce and looks like what I remember

    1 Reply
    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

      Couldn't resist. Predebate fortification.


      The dark color comes from the inclusion of Dark Soy Sauce...or sometimes Double Soy, Mushroom soy or Oyster Sauce, depending on the recipe of the chef or restaurant....Not Fermented Black Beans, which adds saltiness.

      here's another thread that may be useful:

      10 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        I recall the dark lobster sauce as from Golden Temple when i was a kid. It had a lot of ground pork in it too and was more of a meat sauce. The stuff the op mentions from NY state is a white thin slime with peas and egg in it, very little meat, mostly slime

        1. re: hargau

          I can tell you that NY Chinese restaurants certainly used ground pork back in the day.. For some reason, when the many different regional Chinese immigrants entered the States( Non-Cantonese'/Toisanese) in the mid 90's, the transition from pork to green peas started to happen. They even left out the egg yolk from the egg. it was probably done in an effort to reduce costs.

          1. re: fourunder

            The stuff i have had in upstate ny has looked like this

            The stuff i recall as a kid in the boston area looked like this

            1. re: hargau

              With regards to the's still pretty much the same here in NYC/NJ. It very hard to find a version made today with any pork.

              With regards to the Boston Brown....I recall it having a finer ground pork, less meat, and more sauce.

              1. re: hargau

                I grew up in CT and we definitely had the white "Shrimp with Lobster Sauce", which I always loved. You can imagine my shock and horror when I ordered it in Boston for the first time and was presented with a brown mess. Still, it was delicious, just different!!

          2. re: fourunder

            color me confused but soy, dark soy, double soy, mushroom soy and oyster sauce are ALL high in sodium.

            1. re: Bellachefa

              I'm confused as to why you are confused....yes, they all have sodium.

              1. re: fourunder

                grammatically your post read that black beans added the saltiness. easy misunderstanding.

                1. re: Bellachefa

                  less than an ounce of any of the liquid condiments would be used in a typical dish...not enough to enhance the flavor of the dish, so they are used primarily as a color enhancer. for the sauce. Unless there was a tremendous amount of fermented black beans used, they do add a little saltiness, but there would still be the inclusion of additional salt.

              2. re: Bellachefa

                Yes, that goes without saying, does it not?

            2. A few years ago, Hytzipky posted several recipes. Search for the topic Boston-style Chinese Food recipes and look for his posts. He posted several recipes for egg rols, chicken wings, etc. lobster sauce is one of my fav Americanized dishes. This is the recipe he gave for lobster sauce....


              • Vegetable oil
              • 16 oz. ground pork or ground beef
              • 6 cloves minced garlic
              • 3 tbs. oyster sauce
              • 2 tbs. Hoisin sauce
              • 1 tbs. dark soy sauce
              • 1 c. water
              • 3 tbs. molasses
              • Cornstarch to thicken (5 tbs. plus 1/4 cup water mixed together)
              • 2 egg scrambled
              • 2 chopped green scallion for garnish
              • 1 tbs. sesame oil
              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 then the molasses. Add the oyster sauce and soy sauce. Stir well. Add the cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Blend the eggs into the sauce and continue stir frying until the eggs are set. Stir in the sesame oil. Top with the scallions and serve with rice or noodles. Serves 3 - 4.
              For shrimp or lobster in Lobster sauce:

              6 colossal or 12 large (raw) de-veined shrimp cut into pieces
              1 chicken lobster cut into small parts (raw)
              Put the shell fish into the hot sauce at the end. Allow to sit in the hot lobster sauce and continue to cook with the heat turned off for about 5 - 10 minutes (or until shrimp is no longer transparent. The lobster might take a little longer in the shell. It might be best to cook the lobster in with the lobster sauce with the heat on simmer.

              8 Replies
              1. re: catsmeow

                This is a very good recipe. I always use fermented black bean. Soak it in water for an hour or two and then smash it up. Stir fry it with the meat and garlic. I mix chicken broth with water which means adding flavor but more sodium! Also, try to cook the rice with a little less water to balance out the sauce.

                1. re: sheila

                  Personally, i think the inclusion of Dark Soy, Hoisin and Molasses is a bit much. Dark soy already has molasses as an ingredient. All three would make it too sweet.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    Maybe but the poster's father owned a Chinese restaurant several years ago which is how he has the recipes. If. I remember correctly, this one as well as his other recipes got good feedback from other posters after it was posted. I haven't tried it yet.

                    1. re: catsmeow

                      For all intents, its the same recipe I have posted in the past...and have suggested using all Dark Soy as an option to make the Brown Sauce... others may not know Dark Soy already contains molasses and may not be prepared for the unexpected sweetness from including all three. I was merely trying to point that out.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        I've never noticed dark soy sauce on the supermarket shelf. Do they have it in regular supermarkets or only in Asian grocery stores? Thanks.

                        1. re: catsmeow

                          I have only seen it in Asian supermarkets.

                    2. re: fourunder

                      It's supposed to be sweet if it's done right. Molasses is the correct ingredient due to it's particular taste as well. Perhaps more so than the hoisin sauce or oyster sauce that originally was not in the Kowloon recipe.

                  2. re: catsmeow

                    Here is the thread with Hytzipky's recipes and much discussion:
                    Hytzipky says that folks should definitely tweak the amounts of oyster and soy sauce for saltiness, and of molasses and Hoisin sauce to adjust the sweetness to taste.

                  3. Golden Temple still makes this: dark ground pork and black bean lobster sauce.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: teezeetoo

                      I've gotten it there as recently as 3 weeks ago. It's not a very dark brown just a medium brown and a bit bland. Despite that, it's one of the better options out there. I like it at Dragon Chef in. Roslindale and Everett, however, the Dragon Chef in Brighton makes a horrible jellied gloppy version..

                    2. The following link leads to a recipe for Lobster Cantonese which uses already cooked lobsters in the very sauce for which you're looking. Just omit the lobsters. I've made it and it's delicious. Very much like the typical lobster sauce you'll find in the Boston area:


                      Jasper White includes this recipe in his "Lobster at Home" cookbook.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Gio

                        I make this exact recipe often with one major change, I remove the lobster out of the shell and use the lobster bodies and shells to make the stock for the liquid the recipe calls for. The first time I made it exactly as written and it was incredibly difficult to eat, as you had to handle the shells covered in the sauce. Unpleasant, and not an enjoyable experience at all.

                        1. re: Gio

                          Since we are talking recipes now.. i grabbed my trusty Joyce Chen cookbook , dated 1962 (it was my moms)...
                          1 live lobster
                          1/2 cup ground pork
                          3tbs cooking oil
                          2 slices ginger root
                          2 cloves garlic
                          1-1/2 tbs minced black beans
                          2 tsp dry sherry
                          1/2 tsp salt
                          1/4 tsp msg
                          1-1/2 tbs soy sauce
                          1/4 tsp sugar
                          1-1/2 tbs corn starch
                          1 beaten egg