Reliable Sauces

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Warning: This article is groaner's territory

This post has been on draft for many months. So, here it is finally.

Reliable sauces are so important. In this day and age, when there are so many competing claims, you need to make good choices. I trust this post is a reliable source for reliable sauces. (I warned you...)

Here is my list:

All Purpose Light Soy Sauce:

I need an all-purpose soy sauce which I can cook with because it is both good & cheap enough.

Light soy sauce goes well with soft-boiled eggs
Here are my faves:
from Ipoh or "Lam Fah Pak Yau" (in Cantonese of course). A large bottle of 1.5L costs RM21 and can last me many months.

Another is Hang Cheong (which also comes under  another brand, Hung Foong). You can buy this 750mL bottles off the shelves in Melaka at about 8RM.

Both these brands taste fragrant, do not have a sharp salty taste and has a good mouth feel. They are my go-to sauce for almost everything - stir-frying, fried rice, braising, dipping, to accompany my 'perfect' soft boiled eggs, to water my plants etc.

In fact, the Orchid brand from Ipoh has won 2 blind tasting contests (we got the tasters pretty much sauced out). This was my Mum's favourite brand and my brother from Ipoh said that his city folks "swear by it."

It is a reliable sauce. Perhaps some supermarts here can be persuaded to carry these brands.

Ed update: Thanks to a hat tip, you can apparently buy this M'sian soy sauce here: Contact QiuZhen Trading tel: 97530399. Someone feedback that he bought a bottle at Block 16, Bedok South Market.

For dipping, I also use the all purpose ones. If I need a certain fragance, Kwong Woh Hing's premium brand is another reliable option. It is not cheap at SGD$8 per bottle of 375ml, but it is good down to the last drop. And it is available here. ieat also featured an interesting write up on their sauces here.
Kwong Woh Hing's premium light and thick
Light - Medium-Thick
Light Soy Sauce for braising
If I need to braise Tau Yew Bak or Si Yau Kai, I use a braising variety. It is thicker and less salty then the normal light soy sauce. Don't confuse this with the thick dark soy sauce. See the photo (above left) for the contrast from light to thick. I use this brand :"Kicap Hung Foong", which you can buy from Melaka. Remember that sauces used for braising can be reused again. (Heard of the 'thousand day' sauce?)  

This "pure" oyster sauce looks
like light soy sauce.
Dark/Thick Soy Sauce
For this, I am quite easy with what I use. Unless I use it for dipping (i.e chicken rice or bak kut teh), I am not particular. My regular ones are Orchid or Hang Cheong.

Oyster Sauce
Next to the two kind of soy sauces above, oyster sauce must be the next favourite in most households. Some home cooks will oyster sauce everything.

Since I discovered Kwong Woh Hing's pure Oyster Sauce (photo on the right), I have been using that. Most popular oyster sauces will add sugar, salt, water and starch.

Not this. It is concentrated. A little goes a long way and so, go easy on it. It looks like light soy sauce. And it saves storage space. Since I bought this, I have not purchased another starchy version.

It has an intense flavour and gives me more control over the sauces I am making. The next time you eat chicken rice, mix a bit of this, a good soy sauce and some sesame oil. It tastes incredible. You can do the same for steamed fish. I can now add oyster flavour without having to worry about the other ingredients which come with the normal ones.

This sauce gives you better control over your dishes. Highly recommended.
Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce
I find Vietnamese fish sauce more fragrant and less salty. Chin Su is the brand I use. I bought mine at the Vietnamese section at the Thai supermart at Golden Mile Complex. 

Sweet Sauce or Kicap Manis
Kecap Manis or Dark Sweet Sauce
I have already blogged about this. Bango is superb. It goes well with chilli dishes too. Each time I use this, I am always asked, "What sauce did you use? Bango?" Bingo, correct! It is normally a Malay friend who guess it right.

The local supplier:
Mohd Sharif & Sharif Pte Ltd
46 Onan Road, S'pore
Tel: 6344 4650   
(Onan Rd is off Geylang Rd near Geylang Serai)


I am aware that some of these sauces are Malaysian ones. But it is not difficult to arrange for someone to buy them for you or to do it yourself when you next go up country. A bottle can last for months. Buy two or three and you are set for a year at least.

Anyway, I will blog posts in future for other sauces. I will be trying out a range of Kwong Cheong Thye sauces.

Thanks for dropping by and si yau  see you soon.

I thot this winner deserves a blown up pic

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  1. Hi FoodCanon, could u pls recommend some sauces that we can get locally? tks

  2. Ok, will try. There are some good premium grade one locally, but they can be expensive and thus, it is hard to use them as cooking sauce ("Sim tiah" as they say in Hokkien). And I can't recommend to other home cooks what I am not (or will not be) using regularly.

    Some of these will be updated in later post on sauces. Note that there are already some good local ones listed here.

    As for the Malaysian ones, if there are retailing sources in sg, will definitely alert.

  3. hi Foodcanon, thks for sharing with us your reliable sauces. i just bought the Orchid brand light soy sauce from mkt in eastern part Spore.
    Cheers :)

  4. Now, never keep these good secrets to thyself. Which market is that?

  5. since u asked, it shall be given :)
    The label imprinted: QiuZhen Trading (tel: 97530399)
    1. It maybe better to call them and ask which shops/mkt they supplied to cos your readers may not be living in eastern part Sgp.
    2. the one you used, is it Superior or Premium Soy Sauce?

  6. Thanks! The readers here will appreciate this info.

    I have and uses both.

  7. Is there any brand of chines cooking wine you use in particular? It's mentioned in some of your recipes but I'm unsure which brand to buy. Thanks.

    1. I don't use any particular brand and so, I can't recommend with confidence. Perhaps some cooks here can help

  8. this is a wonderful blog post. I am bookmarking it, and popping over kwh when i can. I agree that quality sauces are so vital!

  9. For braising meat, is e orchid brand a wise choice?

    I find many sauce too sweet.

  10. Just found Chin Su fish sauce at Sandwich Saigon on East Coast Rd. Packaging is different, but mostly in Vietnamese so I can't feedback much on the product details.

  11. Chin Su brand also sold in Golden Mile Complex Thai super mart