Believe it or not, oyster sauce was created completely by accident. Lee Kum Kee loved cooking oysters for his guests and one day, he forgot he left them on the stove. Only when he noticed an intense smell coming from his kitchen did he rush back, fearing he overcooked them.
When he got back, he saw that a thick paste was formed and that paste tasted great. That’s how oyster sauce was born and it has since spread around the world as a popular addition to many dishes.
This article will cover the best brands of oyster sauce and what to factor in when buying oyster sauce.
Disclaimer: Medmunch is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.
Considerations When Buying Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce can be made with two different types of oyster base. It will be either a natural oyster extract or oyster flavoring. Most of the top sauces will use the natural oyster extract since it is the highest quality and the most natural base available.
With this base, you can count on an authentic flavor but it may sometimes have a fishy aroma. The exact level of this aroma can and will vary between different brands. Sauces with a fishy aroma will pair amazingly well with seafood dishes.
Sauces without a fishy aroma can serve the same purpose and, on top of that, they will also pair very well with any other kind of dish.
Oyster flavoring is not quite at the level of natural oyster extract and not many of the top brands use it as their base but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good. Some of the sauces on this list use it with great results. At the end of the day, it comes down primarily to personal preference.
One of the main additives mentioned when it comes to oyster sauce is MSG or monosodium glutamate. It is a flavor enhancer often added to Chinese food, as well as canned and processed food.
What does this mean for you and is MSG harmful? There have been reports of MSG causing mild reactions in some people but all the evidence so far is anecdotal.
Scientific research has found no evidence for the supposed harmful effects of MSG but the additive itself remains controversial in the eyes of some. This is why the FDA requires food producers to list MSG on the label if their products contain it. Still, it has been used for decades and it is generally recognized as safe.
Top Oyster Sauce Brand Comparison[wptb id=4888]
Best Oyster Sauce Brands
Dynasty Sauce Oyster
Dynasty oyster sauce comes to us from Malaysia and it generally provides good value for money.
It is made using an oyster extract which is mixed with salt and water which makes it very close to the original oyster sauce formula. The sweet and salty flavors are extremely well balanced so the sauce won’t influence your dish in either direction.
One thing you should keep in mind regarding the taste of the sauce is that it has a mild fishy flavor that may or may not be welcome, depending on your preferences.
This also makes it a great addition to seafood dishes but it might not go so well with other types of dishes, again, depending on your personal preferences.
Overall, it is a product that is well-liked by both critics and regular consumers so you should definitely consider giving it a try.
Dragonfly Premium Oyster Sauce
Unlike most oyster sauces, the Dragonfly Premium Oyster Sauce comes in a plastic bottle instead of a glass one comes with its own set of pros and cons.
The biggest pro is that the sauce is easy to squeeze out of the bottle but, on the other hand, plastic doesn’t provide the same degree of protection from outside elements as glass.
Aside from that, this premium oyster sauce contains no additives like MSG and it has less salt than most other sauces.
The oyster flavor of this sauce comes from oyster flavoring instead of natural oyster extract.
On the other hand, this sauce doesn’t have a fishy flavor which makes it more versatile and you can use it with a variety of dishes without you having to worry about the overall taste being affected.
It’s an affordable and easy to apply sauce that is a favorite of many, and it just might become yours.
Kikkoman Oyster Flavored Sauce
Kikkoman is one of the most famous brands in the world when it comes to sauces, so the expectations for this sauce are quite high. Let’s see if it delivers.
The ingredients used are of very high quality and that quality is well-blended by the brand to produce a sauce with a very balanced flavor.
Natural oyster liquor extract used in the making of this sauce means that the flavor is as realistic as it can possibly get. There’s no fishy aroma and you can count on Kikkoman for a sauce that will enhance all of your dishes.
It contains no additives like MSG and the sodium content isn’t really high.
The texture of the sauce is quite interesting because the sauce is pre-thickened. This lets you use the sauce as a glaze or a dressing.
Overall, it’s exactly what you would expect from Kikkoman. High-quality ingredients, superb flavor, and a great overall product.
House Of Tsang Sauce Stirfry Oyster sauce
The House Of Tsang Sauce Stirfry Oyster sauce comes in a beautiful glass bottle that provides great protection from the elements.
It’s made using an oyster juice extract and it is equally viable as a dipping sauce and as a marinade. If you plan to use it as a dipping sauce, you might want to mix it with something to alter the texture.
The texture is a bit thicker than average but it’s not too thick. In terms of flavor, this sauce is definitely on the salty side and this is something you should consider when using it for your dishes as it may affect their flavor.
If this fits your preferences, then the House Of Tsang Sauce Stirfry Oyster sauce may very well end up becoming your favorite oyster sauce ever.
Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Flavored Sauce
When an oyster sauce brand which is one of the most famous in the world shares a name with the person who first made oyster sauce, the expectations can’t really get any higher. Just like with Kikkoman, the question is – does it deliver? In short, yes. A high-quality natural base of only the finest oyster extracts ensures a great and rich taste that many other brands can only dream of achieving.
It has no soy and no added preservatives. Despite this, it manages to have a very long shelf life of more than a year.
Unfortunately, it contains MSG and gluten which may be unwelcome for those of you who accept nothing but the purest of ingredients but you owe it to yourself to try a sauce of this level of quality because you’ll hardly find anything better out there.
Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Oyster Sauce
Here we have yet another sauce from the company founded by the creator of oyster sauce so the expectations are equally as high as they were in the previous case. This sauce is made with carefully selected oyster extracts which gives it a rich flavor that is quite balanced at the same time.
There’s not a lot of salt inside and the flavor of the high-quality oyster base can really shine, although it is slightly saltier than the premium variant. This makes the sauce very versatile and compatible with a variety of different types of dishes. Just like with any Lee Kum Kee brand sauce, you can order this sauce and expect top tier quality. Rest assured, your expectations will be met, and then some.
Maekrua Thai Oyster Sauce
Thailand is a country that produces some great oyster sauce and Maekrua brand comes to use from Thailand.
The base of the sauce is natural oyster extract. This base results in a rich and natural flavor that will go along great with many of your dishes without overwhelming any of them.
If you are watching your sodium intake, you’ll be happy to hear that this sauce has some of the lowest sodium content of any oyster sauce on the market.
On the other hand, this means that the flavor leans slightly on the sweet side but not enough to significantly affect any of your dishes.
The glass bottle is quite big and even a single bottle will give you enough sauce to last the whole family for a very long time. Maekrua sauces are generally known for their high level of quality and their oyster sauce fits their reputation perfectly.
There are many quality oyster sauce brands to choose from which is great for us as consumers.
With so much diversity, everyone can find something that they will lie.
Whether you prefer a sweet or salty aroma, a strong or mild taste, our list will have something for you. At the end of the day, oyster sauce is incredibly versatile and your creativity is the only limit for it.