Oyster Sauce vs Fish Sauce: What’s the Difference
While fish sauce and oyster sauce might both contain ingredients that predominantly hail from the sea, they are in fact very different sauces and boast different flavors, textures, and consistencies. They hail from different places and are often utilized in different dishes. Oyster sauce is characterized by its sweetness, where as fish sauce boasts a more salty flavor.
So, What’s the Difference Between These Two Sauces?
Oyster sauce is created with caramelized oyster juice, salt, sugar, and soy sauce. Oyster sauce is brown in color, slightly thicker, and usually has a sweet flavor. It’s created by reducing the oyster extract and is characterized by its sweet flavor, and its salty undertones.
Fish sauce on the other hand is created with a mix of fermented fish and salt. Anchovies are the primary fish that is used in the making of fish sauce, however other types of fish are also used. The longer the fish is fermented the more nutty and rich the flavor of the sauce will be. Fish sauce is usually reddish brown in color, has a thinner consistency, and a nuttier flavor. Some fish sauces might be created with extra flavors and additives including chili, garlic, and various spices.
Their Different Origins
These sauces also have different origins. Oyster sauce is originally from China and fish sauce is said to have been originally created in Asia or Europe. Fish sauce is often utilized in Vietnamese, Thai, and Cambodian dishes.
If you run out of oyster sauce or fish sauce, or if you’re a vegetarian, you might be on the look out for a good substitute.
A good substitute for oyster sauce or fish sauce is usually soy sauce. This adds a distinctive brown color to the dish and also adds some flavor to your recipe. Some people also include half a teaspoon of sugar to the soy sauce in order to give the dish the sweetness of oyster sauce. If you’re out of these ingredients, you could opt for some Worcestershire sauce instead.
For vegans, you could opt for a mushroom broth and include some brown bean sauce and sugar to the mix.
If you run out of oyster or fish sauce, you could also use a bit of the other sauce as a substitute. Of course oyster sauce is sweeter than fish sauce and thus you’ll want to include some sugar, and fish sauce is more salty and thus you’ll want to subdue the sweetness of oyster sauce with some salt.